[caption id="attachment_414931" align="alignright" width="400"] All Malaysians can automatically identify the brand by the rooster.[/caption]
From the time of British Malaya, Ayam Brand has continually kept its roots in the country.
Its products have been loved by generations of Malaysians, placing them among the most famous staple food offerings in the region.
Each citizen can undoubtedly refer to the brand with the words, “I grew up with it”.
The brand was first founded in Malaya in 1892 and was initially a trading business of luxury products imported from France.
The logo featured a rooster and the name of the founder, Alfred Clouet.
Malaysians automatically identified the brand by the rooster and renamed the trademark “Ayam Brand” or “Cap Ayam”, which eventually became the name of the brand a few decades later.
Its rooster has barely changed over the years.
But few know the story behind the iconic red and yellow colours of Ayam Brand sardines and mackerel in tomato sauce.
[caption id="attachment_414934" align="alignleft" width="300"] Ayam Brand’s 120 staff are employed to ensure the highest standards are maintained and constantly improved. Photo: Stefen Chow[/caption]
These colours were introduced in 1960 to highlight the products’ superior quality, as Ayam Brand began to source premium sardines from Japan.
The packaging became iconic and a symbol of the region. Most consumers identify Ayam Brand sardines by the brand colours, red and yellow, without needing to look further.
In 1975, Ayam Brand decided to implement more stringent controls of fish quality, investing in a factory in Taiping, Perak.
Today, the brand’s 1,200 Malaysian employees make it the biggest sardine factory in South-East Asia as 100% of its sardines are produced in Taiping.
Quality as the main concern
Ayam Brand factories hold the highest certification with respect to quality, cleanliness and hygiene.
They are among the few to be authorised to export to the United States and Europe.
One of the most important in Malaysia is Jakim certification, which covers not only religious requirements but also certifies the quality and hygiene of production.
Ayam Brand features on Jakim’s “whitelist” of the most reliable food companies.
[caption id="attachment_414933" align="alignright" width="343"] The trademark Ayam Brand or Cap Ayam became the brand name for the range of products of a trading company founded by Alfred Clouet back in 1892.[/caption]
Ayam Brand is renowned for its quality with its production processes still done manually as special care is required.
Besides stringent fish selection, more than 1,000 qualified Malaysian workers cut, gut and wash the sardines by hand.
The sardines are also manually put in cans so that the fish remains in perfect condition.
In Ayam Brand’s organisation, 120 staff are employed in the quality department alone to ensure that the highest standards are maintained and constantly improved.
The brand’s sardines originate from cold seas and they differ from local sardines in that they are fattier, juicer and therefore, tastier.
Despite being a staple, Ayam Brand sardines are perceived to be slightly expensive when compared to fresh fish.
This is in fact an error in perception as when a fresh fish is prepared (gut, head and tail removed), it loses half of its weight, which will then be further reduced by an additional 10% to 20% while cooking.
This explains why canned sardines remain an affordable source of fish meat.