FOOD manufacturer Fong Yit Kaya has been producing its trademark coconut jam for generations but changing consumer tastes left the firm facing leaner times.
The company decided that it had to create a new product that would strongly resonate with buyers in Singapore's small market.
"In a market that is only that big, and when people can only eat so much, there are more challenges," says marketing and research manager Goh May San, who is the granddaughter of the company's founder.
"For us, the main challenge is how to continue capturing the younger market in Singapore, and how we can bring our products overseas to increase our customer base."
While she was certain that a new product had to be created, coming up with a variation of her family's traditional kaya recipe was tricky.
It had to be of the same quality, yet meet the demands of consumers who are increasingly picky about taste, says Ms Goh.
That prompted the company to take part in a food product concept competition initiated in 2011 by the Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association (SFMA).
Working with students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, the firm worked towards coming up with a new product using its original kaya recipe.
They settled on Pumato kaya - a vegan kaya made with sweet potato and without the cholesterol from egg yolks - so it would appeal to consumers with dietary concerns. Such a product could also enlarge the markets for Fong Yit.