Kee Song targets larger market share with new products

Kee Song’s garlic butter infused mid-joint chicken wings is among its new products that is raising interest among consumers.

Singapore-based Kee Song Group is eyeing a bigger market share with its broiler farm and will venture into green feed production and more value-added chicken products, RAJESWARI RAMANEE learns.

Kee Song Group’s 24-acre farm in Yong Peng, Johor, Malaysia has been operating since 2019.

An estimated USD 7 million was invested in closed houses as part of a plan to enhance its position as an integrated boiler producer in Southeast Asia.

Part of that investment included upgrades on automation, which reduced human labor onsite by 30% and upscaled biosecurity.

Ong Kian San

Group CEO Ong Kian San told Asian Agribiz that the automated farm produces around 3.6 million birds annually, all exported to Singapore.

“From a 13-15% market share, we’re eyeing 18-20%. Consumer demand post-pandemic is more towards healthy food, which has been our main message. We are aiming for a wider market with ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products, plus health products like our collagen soup and chicken essence,” he explained.

Mr Ong revealed that production encompassing the whole group consists of 26 million DOC annually with broilers divided into two facets under Meng Kee and Kee Song Agriculture.

Meng Kee is hitting production levels of 7.8 million birds annually while Kee Song Agriculture raises around 9.6 million birds annually under contracted farms.

“In terms of feed, our partners are CP, Cargill, MFM, and Gold Coin. We find that makes more sense than engaging in bulk commodity purchasing of raw ingredients as end-prices remain the same,” he added.

Venturing into green feed

On the cards for Kee Song is a green feed production facility. 

“Since we are moving towards sustainable poultry farming, like recycling our Lactobacillus-fed chicken droppings into fertilizer, next on the agenda is building a green feed production plant. That could help poultry produce less environmentally damaging waste and carbon emissions. This will be for our own farms, but we expect it to gain traction in the wider market,” he explained, adding that it is the company goal to be one of the first to build a green feed facility in the country.

The Lacto chicken range is available in Malaysia and Singapore.

The plant will be run in two phases in the next five years. “Under phase one in partial completion of the plant, I’m looking at producing about 4000 tons/day. Upon full completion, we are looking at 9000 tons/day,” Mr Ong said.

Customers are now more aware that they can trace their food sources from production to their plate, thus putting together sustainability measures from the ground up is a big advantage for the company, said Mr Ong.

He hopes that once the propriety technology and products have been patented, he can go as far as China to sell the technology itself.

Value-added products

Kee Song is noted in the industry in Southeast Asia for its completely antibiotic and growth promoting hormone-free chickens on a large scale.

Their chicken feed and water are infused with the ‘good bacteria’ Lactobacillus to boost the birds’ immune system.

Starting with Japanese Lactobacillus farming technology, the company subsequently developed its own feed technology, producing meat with lower fat content. This method won it the Merit for Innovation Award (2009-2011) from the Singapore Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Kee Song has several brands using this technology: Lacto Chicken, Sakura, Imperial Cordyceps, and CaroGold.

Sakura essence is pending halal-certification.
Kee Song’s chickens are raised in closed houses.

“We have a small plant in Johor that processes our premium Lactobacillus chicken for Malaysian retailers. In Singapore, we have a new food processing plant located in Sembawang and a slaughterhouse in Defu Lane.

“Currently, our ready-to-eat products such as frozen broth and frozen collagen soup, are made using the Lacto chicken and its production is currently outsourced. However, we are looking at manufacturing all these ourselves at the Sembawang site to have control over production quality as well as to unveil more value-added products using our own broilers,” Mr Ong said.

Kee Song also produces chicken bakwa or ‘chikwa’ as a festival product and Sakura chicken essence, which is produced in Malaysia. In the pipeline is to get halal-certification for a wider market especially in Malaysia.

The company also has other ready-to-cook products such as pandan (screwpine flavored) chicken, available at Malaysian retailers such as Aeon; and mid-joint chicken wing marinated with garlic butter at FairPrice Singapore.

More of these marinated ranges are in the pipeline for Singapore and Malaysia to be sold through major retail channels, enabled by a growing production and processing capacity.

With expansion plans in place and new products in the pipeline, Kee Song is indeed poised to take flight and achieve its goal of a larger market share.

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Joint-Editor, Asian Meat Magazine and Meat Insider, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Rajeswari (Rush) analysed how the meat sector innovated itself via multiple ways in 'Sustainability, health drive the new Asian consumer’.