Hamadaya x Inside Scoop: Lili Ho Tells The Story Behind The Unique Collaboration

Dare to imagine. Dare for a challenge.
By: Iffah Salleh
November 8, 2022

Last month, Hamadaya, a Halal-certified premium Japanese sauce brand, collaborated with a local artisanal ice cream brand, Inside Scoop, to bring customers a unique soy sauce-flavored ice cream in honour of Soy Sauce Day, which falls on October 1st.

Malaysians have raised their eyebrows and embraced their adventurous side in order to explore the flavour. Ultimately, Malaysians were won over by the flavour. Many customers enjoy the flavour because the soy sauce balances the sweetness of the caramel. The limited edition flavour was only available for a month, and we are already missing it.

Lili Ho, vice president of marketing at Hamadaya and Heritage Foods, was contacted by Glitz to share more about the story behind the collaboration between Hamadaya and Inside Scoop.

Lili Ho, Vice President of marketing at Hamadaya and Heritage Foods

Hello, Lili Ho. Thank you for agreeing to participate in this interview. To warm the saddle, how about we start with what was the inspiration behind the unique flavour and how would you personally describe the flavour?

We wanted to inject a taste of Japanese culture into something that all Malaysians love: ice cream. Since soy sauce is commonly used in a wide variety of Japanese dishes, we figured, why not ice cream too? So, we reached out to one of a homegrown ice cream brand that is well-known for its ability to create and innovate flavours that would appeal to local taste buds.

The flavour itself is similar to what salted caramel ice cream would taste like but with a distinctly soy sauce aftertaste that is gentle and also pleasing to the palette. We are glad to see that the flavour is very well received among Malaysians.

What is the inspiration for this collaboration?

Initially, we were quite speculative on how the taste will turn out to be. But we knew we needed a good ice-cream maker to make this a success and we are happy that this collaboration with Inside Scoop worked out so well!

At first, we went through several processes and discussions to ensure the success rate of this campaign is on par with our goal. We also took the time to understand each other’s USP and uniqueness so we can come up with products that will suit Malaysia’s taste buds.

After six months, we got in touch with each other  back and discussed plans that might happen during the campaign. Hence, we’ve spent extra hours and taken the necessary steps to ensure that we keep the customer’s best interest at heart.

All of the teams in both brands’ departments have joined forces and played their own role in this collaboration. The R&D as well as the necessary Halal certification took a few months in order to get the best outcome. Throughout the collaboration, we’ve done numerous taste tests.

What was the largest obstacle that Hamadaya and Inside Scoop had to overcome in order to launch this collaboration?

The biggest challenge was what anyone would expect it to be: developing the recipe. Ice cream is a dessert and is expected to be sweet, while soy sauce is most commonly very salty since it is merely a condiment.

Figuring out the right ingredients at just the right amount was the trickiest part and the application of the Halal was the most time consuming, as it involves an external party. But it was all worth it in the end so that the public can enjoy our creation.

In your opinion, do you think the one month period for the flavour is a little bit short? Will you prolong the duration? 

We are observing the response to the flavour within this one month and if all goes well, we might consider bringing back the flavour and reinvigorating this partnership with Inside Scoop. But in the meantime, who knows? We may consider partnering with other F&B options around Malaysia to bring you more soy-flavoured surprises.

What was the expectation from your end in terms of the consumer’s reaction towards the collaboration?

To be honest, of course we presumed that customers would be quite skeptical in trying out this unorthodox flavour, much less end up loving it.

Thanks to the hard work of both teams in making this partnership a success, we believe that the Malaysian daredevils, the ones who thrive on trying out new things just for the sake of trying it, will appreciate what we’re trying to do and help spread the word about the taste of the ice cream.

In fact, most of the feedback that we received from our customers was how they enjoyed the taste and that the ice cream was able to combine the sweet and savoury flavours together. They didn’t know soy sauce could work so well with ice-cream!

What are your hopes from this collaboration in terms of elevating the local expectation in the brands individually?

We are thrilled to be able to get the opportunity to build a similar traction and brand presence here in Malaysia. This collaboration has also helped elevate our goals to not only be known among our target market, but also to be loved for the quality of our products.

Creative collaboration is something that many brands are already embarking on. It is a win-win situation.Our soy sauce is of premium quality so for it to combine with another brand of similar quality and standard has only created an excellent product albeit only for a short term. 

We also hope this can motivate many more promising local quality brands to work with established brands to drive better purpose for the consumers today.

Considering the success of this collaboration, what can customers anticipate from Hamadaya in the future? Will Hamadaya release a news product, maybe a caramel soy sauce flavoured candy?

Hamadaya’s sauces are recognised as Halal, and being a Premium Japanese sauce brand, we always make sure that any products in the future would be exciting and enjoyable for everyone. In fact, we will soon have new products being released during Q4 of this year, which I believe will have many people excited about it.

On top of that, we continuously have plans to collaborate with many other brands in Malaysia. Even though Hamadaya is a sauce brand, we want to show the versatility and uniqueness of the brands by collaborating with brands from different industries.

Since we talk about unique flavour, we’re talking about taking risks and challenges. So, what makes Inside Scoop and Hamadaya unique?

Japanese culture has always been a favourite among many people in Malaysia and Japan was always one of the top countries for tourists to visit. The country’s culture is so vibrant, especially when it comes to fashion, food and lifestyle. At Hamadaya, we are more than happy to explore  something as exciting as this as it adds a touch of Japanese culture to the Malaysian lifestyle.

Meanwhile,Inside Scoop has always been known for its unique flavours of ice cream such as Valrhona Chocolate, Durian and Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake. It was only a matter of time before they tried something as ‘unique’ as soy sauce as a flavour.

Last one, we know the caramel soy sauce will last for the whole month of October 2022 but will it make a comeback in the future?  Maybe in the mooncake series?

At this moment, the collaboration is only for this caramel soy sauce ice cream. We will definitely keep all our fans and customers updated if a new idea is churned out.

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