More local brands given a boost with 64 businesses awarded 'Made With Passion' label

A sourdough pizza-making session with Tiong Bahru Bakery - one of the more than 20 experiences offered by Made With Passion brands on global platform Airbnb Experiences. PHOTO: SINGAPORE BRAND OFFICE

SINGAPORE - Despite its prominence today, bak kut teh was seldom thought of as a dish representative of Singapore back in the late 1960s.

During that time, the clear peppery pork ribs soup was more favoured among blue-collared workers like taxi drivers and trishaw uncles, as well as the older generation, and was often overshadowed by other iconic dishes such as chicken rice and laksa.

But more than 50 years later, Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, one of the prominent bak kut teh restaurants here, was one of the 64 local brands given the Made With Passion (MWP) brand mark on Thursday (Sept 23).

Launched in November 2020, the MWP initiative is led by the Singapore Brand Office and the Singapore Tourism Board and aims to promote consumer awareness and drive support for local brands.

Brands under the initiative can benefit from more exposure, such as through tie-ups with online marketplaces, as well as collaboration with other MWP brands to push out innovative products.

One example is how home-grown ice cream brand Udders collaborated with wellness brand Kinohimitsu to create a collagen ice cream earlier this year.

With the new additions, there are now a total of 111 brands under the initiative, up from the pioneer batch of 47 last year.

More than 300 applications were received after the open call in April this year.

Professor Kapil R. Tuli, co-chair of the MWP Strategic Council, said six trade associations, such as the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, had helped to formulate the selection criteria and evaluated the applications this year.

He said: "There was a two-stage process. The first stage had tangible metrics, which had to do with business performance of the brands, and the next stage was qualitative, to identify the essence of passion in these brands that applied.

"These submissions were evaluated carefully by the trade associations, which arrived at a final list after looking at the mix of qualitative and quantitative criteria."

Other local brands given the MWP brand mark this year included beauty chain Browhaus, furniture store Scanteak and soya bean chain Mr Bean.

To help these local brands reach international customers, MWP will also be collaborating with Airbnb Experiences, a platform that allows consumers to book in-person or virtual activities hosted locally.

More than 20 experiences offered by MWP brands will be offered on the global platform, such as making sourdough pizza with Tiong Bahru Bakery and learning to make a pair of leather slides with footwear brand Palola.

A partnership with retailer KrisShop will also see MWP products being showcased at pop-ups in Orchard Road and at airport lounges.

One such experience offered by MWP brands on global platform Airbnb Experiences will be making leather slides with footwear brand Palola. PHOTO: SINGAPORE BRAND OFFICE

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh director Diana Yeo said the company is grateful to be awarded the label, coming after years of hard work since 1969, when her father, Mr Yeo Eng Song, started the business out of a push cart.

After years of perfecting his recipe, it was only around 2010 that the brand started to become well known and attracted a more diverse crowd, from younger people to working professionals.

The company now has 13 outlets in Singapore, and 16 overseas in countries, including China, Thailand and Indonesia.

Ms Yeo said: "To be recognised as a Singapore brand indicates that our passion, attitude and support from customers and people around us will actually pay off. We also hope that we can carry on this legacy and make Song Fa Bak Kut Teh known internationally as well."

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