|Country Farm Organics is one of the leading players in the Malaysian organic industry. It is the only company in the region that offers a comprehensive range of organic products and services. Country Farm Organics was founded in 1998 by Selina Gan and is dedicated to introducing affordable quality organic food to the general public in Malaysia and the surrounding regions. The company has an own wholesale, four retail outlets, restaurants with cafes, ‘shop within a shop’ solutions and delivers to big supermarkets. Picture: The Malaysian eco-entrepreneur Selina Gan|
|Besides these activities, Country Farm Organics is also a manufacturer, exporter and licensor. It is currently exporting to Middle East and South East Asia. Selina Gan, the founder and Managing Director has been the driving force at Country Farm Organics as well as in the Malaysian organic market. Educated in Los Angeles she has degrees in BSc in Business Administration and a Masters of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California (USC). A large part of Ms Gan’s motivation to establish Country Farm Organics is rooted in her passion for healthy living. She wants every one, rich or poor, to enjoy reasonably priced healthy organic food. Therefore, she sets out to provide the highest quality organic food at an affordable price.Selina Gan began in 1998 importing a wide range of organic food and also sourcing from local organic farms. At that time she focused only on the wholesale business. However, when she realised that even when she lowered her wholesale prices, most of her dealers were not passing on the discounts to their customers, she decided to move into retail business herself. This was the case in 2004 when she opened her first retail outlet. She also provided cooked organic and wholesome food through the attached Food and Beverage outlet. In the mean time, there are four Country Farm organic supermarkets with over 300 m² (3300 ft²) retail space – three in Malaysia and one in Singapore. Each carries 1300 SKU’s (product items). Besides there are six licensees in Malaysia and Singapore.
In eight different conventional supermarkets there is a ‘shop within a shop’ concept (picture: Carrefour) with around 100 m² (1000-1200 ft²). In these shops there are 1000 -1200 SKU’s. The wholesale business is comprising 1300 SKU’s which are delivered to 95 costumers.
Over 70 experienced employees are working for Country Farm Organics on the different levels, promoting thus healthy lifestyle through organics. On top of the existing outlets and licensees, Country Farm Organics products can be found in hypermarkets and supermarkets chains. 4 Jusco-Markets and 12 Cold Storage and three Carrefour already carry products of Country Farm Organic as well as Supermarkets from Giant, Isetan, Sogo, Village Grocer, Citi Super and Greenway. Another seven Carrefour will follow.
More opportunities for anyone who wants to venture into the organic business through Country Farm Organics’ will offer a franchising programme, which now is being developed. The programme provides the potential organic business owners with education, training, start-up tips, products and everything they need to own a successful organic business.
Besides education materials, awareness programmes and health talks, Country Farm Organics also sells its products at an affordable price so as to encourage more people to choose organic products. In its retail outlets, qualified nutritionists or well-trained shop assistants are at hand to offer free and friendly advice to help customers understand better about the organic products that they are buying. The passion to educate the public on the importance of eating and using organic products has led Country Farm Organics to actively organise educational, promotional and awareness activities. Nutritionists are placed at the outlets to answer customers’ queries. The chef and cooks promote organic cooking by conducting cooking demonstrations. Health talks are held regularly to educate customers and interested parties on consuming organic products. Our nutritionists are also invited by corporate clients to speak at their health seminars.
“Country Farm Organics gives special attention to ensure all its products are organic by checking the origin of each product,” says Selina Gan. The organic certificates are placed at the outlets so as to allow the customers to inspect before purchasing. The company’s warehouse is currently going through HACCP and organic certification. With these certifications, all products that are produced and packed can now carry the label “organic”. (picture: Country Farm Organics’ vegetables chiller)
Country Farm Organics wants to offer its customers a trendy, fun place to purchase organic products and have great food in a social environment through its outlets. The range includes grocery items, as well as organic fruits and vegetables, meats (free-range chicken, wild caught seafood), organic baby food, organic soy products, organic breads, personal care items, natural plant based detergents. For children there is organic cotton wear and baby toys. Country Farm Organics is also the first organic company to introduce organic soy ice cream and organic soy smoothies to Malaysia. 80 % of the products are from organic origin. 20 % of the asortment is ‘natural’ like yeast, salt and supplements, plant based detergents or naturally grown rice. (picture: Country Farm Organic Oats)
Country Farm Organics (picture) started its business as an importer and wholesaler of organic fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs for customers in Malaysia. It also buys a wide range of produce from local organic growers. Currently, it is supplying to a considerable number of organic stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets in Malaysia such as Jusco, Giant, Cold Storage, Isetan, Sogo and Greenway. Country Farm Organics also supplies organic ingredients to manufacturers of health products, restaurants and hotels.
Country Farm Organics also offers natural products under its Nature Quest label. Nature Quest label is for products which are usually not available in organic form. As expected, the quality of Nature Quest products are of the highest standard. Country Farm Organics’ privilege card members are entitled to special discounts when purchasing organic products at the company’s outlets and authorized licensee shops. This is part of the customer relationship management programme. Privilege card members are treated to special events, product coupons, free drinks, weekly educational e-newsletter and Country Farm Organics’ newsletter.
It is the personal commitment of the management and staff at Country Farm Organics to never compromise on the organic principles. This means that Country Farm Organics will always make sure that all its products are traceable to their organic sources and it will never substitute organic food with conventional food. To maintain its vision, Country Farm Organics has taken the next step to verify the integrity of its operations by having its warehousing facilities, products and methods of operation inspected by a third-party organic-certifying body. It desires to stay transparent so that it can continue to maintain its reputation as a company of integrity and reliability. This is the philosophy that shapes the company’s growth and direction.
Underlying Country Farm Organics’ rapid and hard-earned success is the excellence of its products and the competence of its management. To achieve her vision, Selina Gan continues to find ways to expand her business. In August 2004, Berjaya Group Berhad acquired 70 % of Country Farm Organics and became the major shareholder. “This partnership provides a collaborative effort, establishes a symbiotic relationship that is beneficial for the rapid growth of Country Farm Organics” says Gan. She stays on as its Managing Director and continues to provide the direction of growth for the company.
Selina Gan created the tagline, “Bring Home Organic For Less!” because she believes that everybody should be able to eat organic food without having to pay exorbitant prices. As the price gap between conventional food and organic food is extremely wide in Asia, she has taken it upon herself to bring the price down by importing organic products in bulks and buying more from local organic farmers. Her aim is eventually to achieve only 25-30 % price premium, instead of couple of 100 % as often seen in Asia.
Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | October 5, 2007
Wholesaler started Organic Supermarket Chain in Malaysia
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