It’s not everyday that one gets invited to travel and get to eat all the biscuits and cookies to their hearts content. So when Aryanna and I received the invitation from Julie’s biscuits (not in any way connected to the local Julie’s Bakeshop) to visit their factory in Malaysia we packed our suitcases pronto!
I’ve been to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia twice to attend fashion shows but it was my first time to visit Malacca (spelled as Melaka too) where Julie’s biscuit factory is located.
Upon arrival at the Julie’s factory, we were greeted by the staff with a welcome program of singing and dancing! So fun!
Mr. Martin Ang shared with us that the founder Mr. Su Chin Hock of Perfect Food set up his first factory in Alor Gajah in 1981. Starting out with only 200 workers, the company has grown to almost a thousand employees and two more factories.
Beginning life as Perfect Food Industries (or PFI) in a domestic market full of very Chinese brand names, Julie’s founder Su Chin Hock decided that a change was in order. “He thought our name was too long,” director Martin Ang says. “So out of nowhere, he came up with Julie. It was easy to remember and was a common name. He certainly didn’t have any girlfriends named Julie!”
From its inception, the company has maintained that food safety and quality are paramount. As such, Julie’s has never used any preservatives or artificial coloring in its cookies.
“There is no shortcut to success,” according to Mr. Ang. “Mr. Su made the decision not to compromise on quality or safety from day one.”
To illustrate this point, he tells the story behind Julie’s Strawberry Love Letters.
One of the company’s bakers told Su that it would be much cheaper and attractive to use artificial coloring instead of real strawberry paste. By using artificial coloring, consumers would be able to see the “natural” redness of the strawberry cream, whereas with the real thing they would not.
However, when Su was told of the potential side effects of the artificial coloring – it included hyperactivity in children – he decided that it was not worth lowering production costs for.
“It was a similar case with our best-selling Peanut Butter Sandwiches. We sourced our peanut butter from a renowned US brand, even though it was very expensive. When we first launched them in the mid-80s, all our distributors said that we were selling the product for too much. The average price per kilo those days was around RM2.50-RM3.50. We were selling for RM5. But you know what? The customers decided. They loved the biscuits.
“Ever since then, we only use the best ingredients. We believe in Mr Su’s motto:
“What I don’t eat, I would never let my customers eat.”
Another highlight of our trip to Malaysia is the Melacca Tour.
We were also privileged to visit the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Since we got back from Malaysia, we’ve been enjoying Julie’s products at home and during our family trips and outings.
Julie’s is the first biscuit company outside the US to collaborate with Hershey’s. According to Mr. Ang, “they searched for so many biscuit companies in Asia, but chose us,” attributing this choice to Hershey’s recognition of Julie’s high production standards.
I just want to share with all of some yummy Julie’s biscuits and cookies dessert ideas I learned from my trip:
We got to create our own versions of Julie’s Fruity Layer Cake at the factory. Check out the simple and yummy recipe on Aryanna’s blog!
Traveling to Malayasia and learning about Julie’s biscuits was a wonderful experience especially that I got to travel with my daughter. Life is truly about good food, family and memorable experiences!
This post is in partnership with Julie’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations that have kept JenniEpperson.com’s doors open. I super appreciate it!