Sacha Inchi Oil and Exclusive Interviews with Jasmond Heng and Winnie Khoo from Farmgrocer and Kesslyn How, Former Nutritionist with Raffles Medical Group

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Sacha Inchi Oil is extracted from sacha inchi which is one of the richest plant based sources of Omega 3 fatty acids which helps to regulate cortisol levels, reduce sugar cravings and lose weight. It is largely cultivated in Peru, Sacha Inchi is a star-shaped fruit and is known for its seeds. The Sacha Inchi seeds and flesh from the fruit is cold pressed at below 45 degree celsius to ensure that it retains a higher quantity of nutrients.  The cold pressing process filters out any impurities from the oil so that it can be kept fresher for longer. The result is a nourishing oil with a mild and nutty texture. 

According to Farmgrocer, in 2012, it used to sell 100 bottles of oil every month and over the years, demand for cold pressed oils has gone up by 70%. Their sales have risen to 3,000 bottles monthly in 2019. It is very easy to incorporate Sacha Inchi oil into your diet, you can either take it straight from the spoon or drizzle it over salads and blend it into smoothies. It provides many benefits like balancing cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, promoting cardiovascular health and treating rheumatic pain.

Jasmond Heng, Head, Business Development, Farmgrocer mentioned that “We started bringing in cold pressed oils into Singapore in 2012. At that time, people only knew about olive oil. But, I felt that cold pressed oils would get very popular in the years to come as Singaporeans become more health conscious.”   

Winnie Khoo, Manager, Farmgrocer further elaborated that “Most of our consumers are actively looking for cold pressed oils either because they have health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and may sometime advised by doctors or health conscious individuals who are searching for superfoods to supplement their diets.”

Our Parenting World – OPW Media team is pleased to be able to interview Jasmond Heng and Winnie Khoo from Farmgrocer and Kesslyn How, former nutritionist with Raffles Medical Group to share more with us about the rising trend of cold pressed oils and the benefits of using Sacha Inchi Oil. Kesslyn How is a nutritionist who can provide insight on the nutrition of cold pressed oils, how we can incorporate this into our diets and how we can achieve healthy eating in our daily lives. Read on to find out more. 

About Jasmond Heng and Winnie Khoo from Farmgrocer

Farmgrocer offers a wide variety of edible purity oils derived from the pressing of nuts and seeds which are proven to bring about therapeutic and health benefits to the consumer.  The company aims to offer quality merchandise at reasonable prices, so that good health can be made easily accessible.

Ten years ago, Jasmond Heng started selling macadamia nuts and cold pressed oils from a pushcart. Today, his brand, Farmgrocer has become a subsidiary under Hockhua Tonic.

Jasmond Heng and Winnie Khoo are one of the first few vendors in Singapore who brought in flavoured macadamia nuts like Abalone and a wide variety of cold pressed oils. They feel that people in Singapore were slowly becoming more health conscious and that health food would be in greater demand. Farmgrocer has seen a steady rise in the sale of its products. The brand currently has multiple flavoured macadamia nuts, cold pressed oils and freeze dried fruits like durian and mangosteen under the belt. 

Exclusive Interviews with Jasmond Heng and Winnie Khoo (JH & WK) from Farmgrocer

1. Please share with us more about your background? What makes you decide to set up Farmgrocer?

JH & WK: Ten years ago, we started selling macadamia nuts and cold pressed oils from a pushcart.

We were one of the first few vendors in Singapore who brought in flavoured macadamia nuts like Abalone and a wide variety of cold pressed oils. We felt that people in Singapore were slowly becoming more health conscious and that health food would be in greater demand.

Today, our brand, Farmgrocer has become a subsidiary under Hockhua Tonic.

2. What are the challenges you faced in setting up your own business and how do you overcome them?

JH & WK: You have to do loads of sampling for people to try the flavoured nuts especially the abalone flavour. People were skeptical at first but quickly accepted it as the after taste was so special and unique.

Setting up an online store was the other challenge. During my time, online buying was not popular. We had to convince customers to make purchases online and we made sure we delivered as promised. We offered free delivery with minimum value purchased.

3. What’s your advice for those who want to start their own business?

JH & WK: Starting a business is never easy. You need a lot of passion, persistence and have a “never give up” attitude. Always have a new and creative business strategy or model standby. Keep on changing and improving. Remember, “No business starts big immediately, but big businesses often start small.”

4. Why did you decide to import cold pressed oils?

JH & WK: Cold pressed oil was not popular in early 2012. Most people still used normal cooking oil or only knew about olive oil.

But, I felt that cold pressed oils could get popular in the years to come as the government was continually promoting healthy living. So, we decided to bring in not just cold pressed olive oils, but many more varieties of cold pressed oils, seed and nuts from Australia.

5. How have consumers been responding to cold pressed oils? Is the average consumer aware of it? 

JH & WK: As the years go by, information about cold pressed oil can easily be found online. Consumers are becomingly more aware of the benefits of cold pressed oils and are slowly incorporating them into their diets. The older folks seem to be more aware of the health benefits. Some are even more knowledgeable about the oils than us!

6. Do you see a trend of people consuming more cold pressed oils?

JH & WK: Yes! definitely! Because cold pressed oil not only provides good nutrients, minerals and vitamins, it also promotes weight loss.

Demand for cold pressed oils has gone up by 70% in close to ten years. In 2012, We used to sell 100 bottles of oil every month. Our sales have gone up to 3,000 bottles monthly in 2019.

Most of our consumers are actively looking for cold pressed oils either because they have certain health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and have been recommended by nutritionists to consume cold pressed oils. Others are health conscious individuals who are searching for superfoods to supplement their diets.

7. What’s the benefit of Sacha Inchi oil?

JH & WK: Sacha Inchi is one of the richest plant based sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, which is known to regulate cortisol levels.

This helps to reduce sugar cravings and lose weight. It is one of the few pure cold pressed oils which contains Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids.  Apart from weight loss, Sacha Inchi has benefits such as helping to lower cholesterol, high blood pressure and is a good supplement for the diets of vegetarians.

Our Sacha Inchi oils cost $30 for a 250ml bottle and are available at NTUC Hypermart, NTUC Finest and NTUC Extra. They are also available at Farmgrocer’s online store, Hock Hua Tonic stores and Redmart.

8. Does Farmgrocer carry other cold pressed oils and what are some of the popular oils?

JH & WK: We currently carry more than 14 varieties of cold pressed oils which can be purchased in most major supermarkets and participating organic stores such as the most common olive oil and coconut oil.

Other oils we carry include cold pressed boutique oils like flaxseed oil, almond oil, avocado oil, kernel oil, peanut oil, macadamia oil and of course sacha inchi oil.

Flaxseed oils is still our most popular oil. We are slowly increasing our product range based on consumer trends and health benefits. More information on our cold pressed oils can be found at http://farmgrocer.sg/.

9. Lastly, what’s your plan for Farmgrocer in the next five years?

JH & WK: Our plan is to export to overseas markets, and increase awareness of the brand locally. We hope to share with local consumers that we are a home grown brand.

We are constantly trying to expand our product line. Some of our nuts have already been supplied to our local budget airlines. We plan to increase our product range and also source for healthier snack products.

Thank you for Jasmond Heng and Winnie Khoo for taking our interview!

About Kesslyn How, Former Nutritionist with Raffles Medical Group
Kesslyn has worked in various fields related to food or/and nutrition and health & wellness, Kesslyn has five years of clinical experience in nutrition and public health. She loves to provide nutrition guidance and inspiration to drive the nutritional dimension in new concepts and product innovation. Being adventurous and passionate about nutrition, she enjoys doing scientific and market research for possible trends in nutrition, health and food development. She had conducted research with Nestle on Whole-grain food consumption in Singaporean children and is skilled in food and beverages, with a certification in Food & Beverages Productivity and Revenue Management.
Exclusive Interview with Kesslyn How (KH), Former Nutritionist with Raffles Medical Group

1. Please share with us more about your background?

KH: I pursued my nutrition passion with a diploma in Applied Food Science and Nutrition and further studies with a Bachelor Degree (Hons) in Food and Human Nutrition. With five years of experience in nutrition and public health, I had conducted multiple health workshops, provided weight management consultations and been involved in nutrition scientific research.

2. How can one become a Nutritionist in Singapore?

KH: To be a nutritionist, one has to undertake an undergraduate or postgraduate degree course majoring in Nutrition subjects and to be recognised by Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association (SNDA).

3. What kind of work does a Nutritionist do?

KH: Roles include:
– Planning and developing content for nutrition workshops/articles
– Conducting/educating health and nutrition related workshops/talks and cooking demonstrations.
– Coordinating and managing health promotion related projects
– Communicating with chefs in healthier menu planning
– Providing consultation to individuals on weight management

4. What kind of diet would you prescribe to a patient who is trying to lose weight?

KH: A well-balanced calories controlled diet with the right proportion of carbohydrates, protein and fats intake.

5. Do you have any advice for students interested in studying nutrition?

KH: To have a strong passion in nutrition and enjoy communicating with individuals and communities.

6. What are some of the health benefits associated with cold pressed oils?

KH: Cold press is a method that involves minimal processing. As such, oils that are cold pressed or unrefined contain more plant chemicals such as antioxidants and sterols that are beneficial to our health. However, from a nutritional standpoint, refined or unrefined oil has the same fatty acid profile and calorie content. Hence, all oils (whether refined or unrefined) should be used sparingly.

7. What are some of the ways we can incorporate cold pressed oils into our diet?

KH: Cold pressed or unrefined oils contain more antioxidants but are less heat stable, hence, they are not suitable for high heat cooking. Cold pressed oil can be added to salads as dressing, to make a healthy guacamole or added to cooked meals and stir well.

8. What is the difference between cold pressed oils and other oils on the market, from a nutritional perspective?

KH: Nutritionally, there are no significant differences. All oils contain 9kcal per gram.

9. What’s healthy eating and how can we achieve that in our daily lives?

KH: Healthy eating refers to eating a wide variety of food in a correct proportion and ensuring adequate hydration. According to the Health Promotion Board, it is recommended to follow the healthy food plate, consuming ½ plate of colourful vegetables, ¼ plate of lean protein and ¼ plate of complex carbohydrates (wholegrains). Examples of colourful vegetables include green leafy, bell peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. Examples of lean proteins: Eggs, tofu,skinless poultry and fishes. Examples of complex carbohydrates: wholemeal bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, oats.

It is also recommended to reduce the sugar, saturated fats and salt intake. When supermarketing, choose healthier choice option products labelled with lower in sugar, lower in saturated fats,lower in sodium, higher in wholegrains, higher in fibres etc.

Thank you Kesslyn How for taking our interview! 

Farmgrocer’s Sacha Inchi Oil at 250ml bottle is priced at $30 and available at NTUC Hypermart, NTUC Finest and NTUC Extra. It is also available at Farmgrocer’s online store, Hock Hua Tonic stores and Redmart.

Farmgrocer has a range of other cold pressed oils such as flaxseed oil, macadamia oil and olive oil available.  Consumers who prefer a healthy snack can get the Sacha Inchi seeds at HAO mart, Organic Stores and Farmgrocer’s online store. The seeds cost $2.50 for a 35g bag.

 

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