Monday, November 5, 2007

Malaysia doughnut craze?

On November 1st, The Star published an article (photo) on the absurd queue of Malaysians, all waiting for a bite of the new craze in town - J.Co Donuts and Coffee. At first glance, KL-ites might think that they're having a slice of something ala Krispy Kreme. But what they didn't know is behind the all-premium facade of J.Co lies a proud Indonesian heritage. Same goes with the newly established Big Apple in The Curve. You think Big Apple = NY? Heck, no! It's owned by a proud Malaysian who actually cared enough to learn the art of doughnuts in the REAL Big Apple. I guess his hardwork did pay off as people were queuing up for doughnuts like there was no tomorrow! But. My question is. What's the sudden biggy with these buns with a hole huh?

Dunkin Donuts have been around for yonkers and they were either happily resting on their laurels or were about to go under, till these two donuteers came to save the day and pretty much revived people's craving for these little sweet things. Well, I think it's because if you're in the food industry. No, scrape that. If you're in ANY industry for that matter, it's about the ripest time it can get for you to introduce new ways of living. Awhile back, the craze was cupcakes. I don't think it has died down completely but people fancied the idea of having these cute little diabetic-inducing cakes as a replacement for our usual 1kg chocolate cake or whatever have you. Heck, did you know these little cuppa cakes can be a hell lot more expensive than the normal cakes if you count cost per gramme. What are Malaysians doing, wasting their hard-earned money like that!?

That's what happens when you have a sizeable percentage of the population laced with new money. In other words, young professionals who don't need to contribute anything to the household or double income earners who don't need to contribute anything to kids or double income earners who willingly contribute a whole lot of cash to their kids because of, well, what else but guilt. Well, whichever way you're seeing it, it makes perfect sense. New money earners have found this new sense of liberation from their income. Here stemmed the roots of narcism and incessant pleasure gratification. As in, the automatic habit of constant self-reward. There isn't a need to put a value to how much they are earning or how much the reward cost. The fundamental of this behavior doesn't change whether it's a new shirt or a new phone or even an overpriced piece of dough, ultimately it is because 'I now can'.

This phenomenon (although I know most of you would hardly call a donut fad a phenomenon) really intrigues me, which is why I'm gonna pledge some time to concentrate on a new research to find out the changing lifestyle of these urbanites (by the way, 70% of Malaysia is urbanised yea?) and what are the implications of various products and brands, and subsequently how these brands can meet the real needs of people in the midst of all these changes. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me this Christmas...


  1. Yeah, we had Dunkin Donuts all this while but only since J.Co and Big Apple came out did people start going crazy over donuts again (were they crazy once before?).

    Yea, Malaysians are spending like crazy these days. Even those who aren't working (especially the college students i know), can spend more than RM 15 just for lunch!

    And that's excluding those special expenses like cyber-cafeing, clubbing, drinking, betting, petrol and shopping. Those that work however, work to support this spending habits. I doubt they (can) save anything.

    Where's all MY money? SOB!


  2. Betting? Hehe, bet what? I thought betting only comes during football season?