Durians are known to be one of the most controversial fruits out there. Their distinct stench can either make mouths water, or cause others to gag; it depends on who you ask.
yellowstuffs wants to make the fruit more accessible to everyone, sans the hassle of opening up its shell and its odours lingering on your hands. They’re able to do so by turning Musang Kings (MK) into a durian puree packaged in a small tub, to be eaten like ice cream.
2/3 of its team don’t fancy the fruit
The starting point of this venture happened over coffee between Cynthia, Roxanne, and Samuel. Roxanne and Samuel found out that Cynthia’s family was in the durian plantation business which primarily focuses on upstream products and exports the fruits overseas.
Learning of this, they danced around the idea of starting a new brand to serve the local market. Their main goal was to provide the best durian experience in a consistent and convenient way.
To differentiate their business from other durian sellers, they chose to focus on downstream operations, starting with durian puree. Their product makes the experience of enjoying durians accessible all year long with consistency in its taste, which is otherwise volatile depending on weather conditions.
Additionally, the puree can be used in desserts too, including cakes, ice cream, cream puffs, mooncakes, amongst other things.
“Cynthia and Samuel don’t even eat durian,” its team told Vulcan Post. “Despite that, we are still in the durian industry as we see the great potential of durian as the king of fruits both locally and internationally.”
Durian in a tub
The ready-to-eat durian industry in Malaysia isn’t new, as there are brands like Durian BB selling frozen durian products too. However, the co-founders noted that it’s less common to find players selling durian puree in the market, hence why they chose to launch their Musang Durian Puree as their first product.
What makes durian enjoyable to me comes from its texture. On top of the flesh’s creaminess and sometimes meatiness, the chewy bits from its skin make up its indulgence. This texture is something yellowstuffs’ team made sure to keep their puree.
“Finding the balance is key. Our Musang Durian Puree is creamy, but at the same time we are able to retain the aroma and taste of MK in our puree,” they described.
“You can feel the bits and pieces of the durian skin and meat as the puree is made from durian flesh. Basically, eating our puree is like eating the real durian.”
The brand’s product can be eaten like ice cream, and some of their customers have also used it in smoothies, as a spread on their bread, and as a baking ingredient. 4 tubs of yellowstuffs’ puree totalling 320g costs RM90.
“It was a hell of a journey.”
Out of the team of 3, Cynthia is the only one working on yellowstuffs full time, while Roxanne and Samuel have day jobs as a banker and investment banker respectively. Working late nights and over the weekends are a given for the team who make it work by covering and stepping in when the other is unable to.
Launching yellowstuffs in April 2021, they noted that having no knowledge in online selling was one of their biggest hurdles. “It was a hell of a journey,” stated the team.
Seeing that durian puree isn’t commonplace in the market, gaining customers’ confidence didn’t come easily. However, the team was able to do so by educating their followers about their product’s ingredients, how it’s made, and their branding which comes off as fun and vibrant.
Sourced directly from Cynthia’s family farm, the durians’ flesh is peeled and blended into a thick paste. The team will manually remove any impurities like unblended durian skins and roots before it’s churned vigorously into a paste until smooth and creamy.
With no preservatives or colouring added, products are made in small batches of 200 tubs at a time. Carrying a shelf life of 12 months, customers are advised to store the purees in the freezer at all times to maintain their freshness.
An ongoing demand for durian
2 months in, yellowstuffs’ team reported that they’ve sold a rough 700 boxes (each carrying 4 tubs each) and that the business is doing well financially.
Focusing on reaching more customers for now, they are working with resellers to help push out their products, before moving into the B2B market to target cafes and bakeries.
“For the next 12 months, our plan is to retain all our profit to invest in our brand such as increasing brand awareness, R&D for new products, investing in storage systems, buying machines, and various initiatives to better serve all our durian lovers,” the team hoped.
In 3 years, they’re hoping to export their durian products to the global market by partnering with bakeries, sellers, and attending overseas exhibitions once it’s possible again.
- You can learn more about the yellowstuffs here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups we’ve featured here.
Featured Image Credit: (left to right) Roxanne, Cynthia, and Samuel, co-founders of yellowstuffs