Benjamin Yong

Updated: 01 Nov 2012 | By:

The man behind the BIG (Bright Ideas Group), which at present point of time consists of 16 restaurants and a supermarket, reveals the inner workings of an international grocer, the F&B business and growing food trends

In such a competitive realm, why did you choose to set up a super mart/grocery store now?
It’s always been my dream to create an eating and shopping paradise and share it with the community here in Malaysia.

What was the ideal or concept behind Ben’s Independent Grocers?
We wanted to provide the discerning consumer with a completely unique grocery shopping experience.

Do you observe trends or needs of the local market before setting out to stocking your shelves?
Lots of people provide feedback to me and my team about what they like and love to be able to purchase in Malaysia. So it's not so much an observation, more like gathering suggestions from the people around me.

Are local consumers ‘buying local’ or are imported goods still primarily the preferred option?
A little bit of both, actually. There has definitely been an increase in the demand for locally grown fresh produce, among other things but let's face it, there are some things that we in Malaysia can't make as well as our foreign counterparts yet. I wouldn’t say that imported goods are preferred.

Do local consumers keep track of F&B trends?
Undoubtedly, yes. Especially with the whole Facebook, Twitter, Instagram thing of letting people know what you're eating and where you're eating it. Also the advent of channels dedicated entirely to food and drink.

What do you think the next big trend will be and how will that impact your businesses?
The trend of not being trendy. Individualism is on the rise, let's just be ourselves, do what we like and eat what we love.


Tags: chef