Recently, I saw an article about a company in Indonesia making healthy Mi Goreng. I’d tried a couple varieties in the past actually, and thought these sounded unique so dropped a line. They responded, and here we are! Let’s start with an interview with Michiko Sutanto, Marketing & Partnership Manager.
Meet The Manufacturer: Interview With Lemonilo – Indonesia
THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you for agreeing to this interview! To start, can you tell my readers about the history of Lemonilo? Who started it and why?
LEMONILO> Three young and energetic Indonesians that are dreaming of making Indonesians healthier and happier founded Lemonilo in 2016. They are Shinta Nurfauzia, Ronald Wijaya and Johannes Ardiant. They were annoyed that unhealthy lifestyle that is prevalent in Indonesia has resulted in diseases such as diabetes (Indonesia is top five in the world). So, they established Lemonilo with a mission to make Indonesians healthier and happier through affordable & practical healthy products (think about online & affordable version of Wholefoods). For their first product, they need to ensure that Indonesians will be crazy about it. One of the “national dishes” that make Indonesian unhealthy is instant noodle (Indonesia made it to rank 2 after China). In Indonesia, we know that instant noodle are super unhealthy but we love it so much, we hear moms tell their kids “kids, once every two weeks (to eat instant noodle)” instead of banning it entirely. So, they decided to create the healthy alternative of instant noodle: Lemonilo All-Natural Instant Noodle to help Indonesians satisfy their crave over instant noodles without abandoning their health. Aside from the instant noodle, the companies have also launched other products such as all-natural stock powder, instant seasoning, cooking oil, and will launch more.
TRR> Why the name Lemonilo – what does it mean?
LEMONILO> Lemon – top of mind of healthy food
Nilo – warrior (from celtic language)
When the co-founders think about a name for the company, they want a name that Indonesians will associate it directly with “health” but sounds unique. So, they created an online survey in which they asked what is the healthiest food according to the Indonesian respondents (involving ~300 people). Lemon came as a winner. So they created a second poll in which they asked the respondents to pick one among “Lemon-something” names (they were Lemonilo, Lemonola, Lemonalo, Lemonetc.) Lemonilo won.
TRR> Can you tell us about the varieties of noodles you make?
LEMONILO> We currently have “fried noodle” (mee goreng or chow mien) flavor only, but soup based noodle will be launched soon. What’s unique about our instant noodle though:
– 100% natural (no preservatives, no coloring—the green color came from spinach, no MSG added)
– Low gluten
– Low calories (only 283 per portion)
– Oven baked (not fried at all)
TRR> I’ve read that your products are for those interested in healthy options – can you tell us a little about this and why you’ve chosen this course?
LEMONILO> Please read answer No. 1.
TRR> Your company is located in Indonesia. Can you tell us a little about your locale?
LEMONILO> Indonesia is a country of 260 million people. Indonesia’s middle upper class has a sufficient knowledge on the importance of healthy lifestyle. C+ class Indonesians are growing in their health concern. But the majority of us do not have the realization yet, mainly are due to the folk foods that contain a lot of grease, coconut milk, oils, and meats. So, can say that Lemonilo targets ~90 million Indonesian people (the middle & affluent class).
TRR> How does your noodle making process differ from other instant noodle manufacturers?
LEMONILO> We use oven baked process instead of frying it, that’s why it is lower in calorie. It’s also 100% natural (no preservatives, no coloring—the green color came from spinach, no MSG added) and low gluten.
TRR> How do you decide on what varieties to produce?
LEMONILO> We see:
– Sales data in our platform and market research (i.e. Indonesian global FMCG spending, Indonesian pantry product preference)
– We create the sample first, and do internal & external concept test
– Develop when we have high approval rate
TRR> Apart from noodles, are there other products you produce or plan to produce?
LEMONILO> Currently we have 9 other products, aside from the instant noodle:
– Beef stock powder
– Chicken stock powder
– Mushroom stock powder (vegan)
– Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) Instant Seasoning
– Nasi Goreng Kari (Curry Fried Rice) Instant Seasoning
– Ayam Goreng Lengkuas (Indonesian-style Fried Chicken) Instant Seasoning
– Tepung Kremes (Chicken Crunch) Instant Seasoning
– Coconut Cooking Oil
TRR> Can you suggest pairings for your products, like meats, seafood or vegetables?
LEMONILO> We like it better to eat it as it is. But it’s basically good with anything (seafood/chicken and vegetable + egg on the side—anything!)
TRR> A lot of people are concerned with their sodium intake. How would you recommend people enjoy your product as part of a healthy meal?
LEMONILO> Our product is low in sodium, so they do not have to be concerned about it.
TRR> Are you involved in in your local community or participate in charities?
LEMONILO> Yes, the company have two continuing events:
– Lemonilo Fit Club
o Series of “active” events involving Lemonizen (how we call our consumers) such as working out together, DIY workshops, to inspire others to live a healthier & more sustainable life.
o We hold the event once every two months.
– Lemonilo Care
o We allow Lemonizen to give charity in our online platform to a specific cause
o We work together with local charity partner to distribute the charity proceed
TRR> In what countries are your products available?
LEMONILO> Currently in Indonesia only.
TRR> When you make noodles for yourself, what do you like to add to them to make them extra special?
LEMONILO> Extra chili and boiled egg.
THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn about Lemonilo and your products!
Thank you very much! Let’s get started!