Loop Food: Set To Change The Way (And What) We Eat

Sunway Group’s innovation arm, Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), has announced the top five startups from its one-month pre-accelerator phase of the 2021 Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator programme.

The accelerator programme, kicked off together with Pan-Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners last month and was completed with 23 startups in a pitch competition to a panel of judges. 

The top five selected startups are Loop Food, Rent Guard, Singular, Trabble and Wise Crafters.

In the next three months of the Super Accelerator programme, Sunway iLabs will help the selected top five startup founders connect with Sunway’s global network of partners, industry experts, mentors and investors.

Head’s Up will be interviewing all five chosen startups each week to discuss further on where they are, their challenges, and how they are creating, how their participation in Sunway iLabs will impact their journey moving forward.

We speak to Nicholas Ou of Loop Food to see what’s cooking and if you missed our interview with Terrence Hooi, Co-Founder and CEO of Singular Capital, click here.

Head’s Up Interviews Nicholas Ou on what Loop Food has to offer and what’s in store for their customers looking to have their expectations met.

1. What is the awareness on what goes into our food and on our plates like these days, particularly after the arrival of the pandemic?

We believe that the pandemic was one of the driving forces of people wanting to eat healthier. They've kind of woken up to the fact that they want to know where do their food comes from and what’s in it.

We believe the choices we make about what we eat, where it comes from and how it’s prepared have a direct and powerful impact on the health of individuals, communities and the environment.

Food for thought - If you are what you eat, shouldn’t you know what you’re eating?

We look to create a win, win, win outcomes in all our decisions. Whereby we create solutions where the customer wins, the community wins, the company wins. We’re focused on building a transparent supply network, and reducing the time food reaches your table with our tech-enabled food supply chain.

2.You currently have SpargoEats as one of your brands, are there any plans to add any other brands under your wing and what will those brands look to cover?

Yes, our in-house brands are primarily in the healthy food space which we believe we can have most impact, by helping fellow Malaysian’s wanting to transition to eating healthier and furthering our mission of inspiring healthier communities by connecting people to real food!

We are in the midst of launching two other brands which are Busy Bee (sandwich + coffee) which focuses on sourdough sandwiches and good coffee from our friends at Nespresso designed for busy bees (corporates). Next would be Plant Nation that offers plant-forward menu offering, which caters for plant-based diets, vegan and vegetarian customers.

Our users would be able to order from these three different restaurants/brands via our Loop Food website, within a single delivery order. We are looking to launch more brands via Loop Food’s network in the near future!

3.What are the areas as a startup you are looking to improve with the help ofthe partners, Sunway iLabs and Gobi Partners?

Firstly, we are grateful to both Sunway iLabs and Gobi Partners for allowing us to pilot our proposed corporate project. As we share the same values of sustainability as a key component in our business decisions, we are looking to amplify our impact with their support. Furthermore, with market access to Sunway Group’s vast ecosystem, we believe it's a springboard opportunity for us and allow us to continuously test our products offered to our users. Mentorships and also continued support - inquire about talent, seek investors, or get feedback.

We’d really love to give a shoutout to Sunway XFarms, which gave us the opportunity to become their F&B partner even prior to the accelerator programme. They were one of the first farms that decided to work with us, by giving us the opportunity to open our flagship store in their urban farm in the heart of Bandar Sunway. With their support and guidance, it has helped us to build a foundation for speaking to other farmers too!

4.What has the reception been like for SpargoEats and what are some of the F&B areas are you looking to expand in time?

We are truly grateful to our loyal fans that have supported us throughout our journey operating SpargoEats. With their support, it allowed us to ride through this pandemic which has been particularly challenging for new F&B brands.

Our main focus is strengthening our supply chain by deepening relationships with our current grower/farm partners and forge relationships with new growers. This ensures our consistent supply of fresh, tasty, sustainable, locally sourced produce.

Secondly, working closely with our grower/farm partners to better forecast our demands for produce, allowing them to grow and potentially become exclusive Loop Foods grower/ farm partners, which we believe could help reduce potential disruption.

5.Do you intend to set up a brick and mortar restaurant or cafe in the future?

We do intend to set up brick and mortar restaurants. For us, our definition of a restaurant is a point of access for food. This allows us to meet our customers where they are, which is our main focus.

We are also reinventing the concept of a ‘restaurant’ with our distribution models that allows our customers to order through our website and pick up and/or dine-in our stores. We can meet you at your workspace/school/condo through Outpost and we can deliver to your doorsteps too!

6.There has been a steady rise of healthier food offering services in KL, how will yours compete and stay different compared to the others?

The key differentiator for us is our food ethos guiding our decisions on our supply chain, as we’re always looking for ways to source smarter, to make better decisions and to help SpargoEats and its customers be a positive force in the world and on the food system.

That is why we cook from scratch. We get whole vegetables, whole fruits and whole grains delivered to our stores. Our team dices, slices, spices and roasts in-house every day because food tastes better when it’s made fresh.

We believe in a transparent supply chain, and we go to great lengths to work with farmers who are doing the right thing. In our stores, you can see the sources listed on the wall, and you can watch us prep all the food in our open kitchens.

We pride ourselves on sustainability, from store design and waste management to the food we serve. Society can’t afford not to think and eat sustainably, and SpargoEats takes steps to positively impact the food system.

Lastly, we source from partners and growers we know and trust, letting their farming dictate our menu. We go to great lengths to work with farmers who are doing the right thing, and we source locally where possible.

We feel a great sense of responsibility and pride to change what it means to be in the business of feeding people.


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