NANKA is Malaysia’s first plant based, high-fibre burger patties produced by Ira Noah LLP, a food tech start-up based in Subang Jaya using young jackfruit pulps from Pahang. Each NANKA patty contains 8 to 10 grams of whole-plant dietary fibre, closely addressing a fibre gap among Malaysians towards a healthy digestive system.
The dietary fibre in plant-based foods plays a major role in digestive health - preventing constipation and providing energy for good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. The Malaysian Dietary Guideline recommends a dietary fibre intake of 20 to 30 grams a day; Malaysians however consume about half that amount leaving a fibre gap of 9 to 12 grams.
“Our intention right from the get-go is to encourage fellow Malaysians to eat a healthier diet, which means reducing meat as well as avoiding highly-processed fast food,” said Ahmad Syafik Jaafar, the co-founder of Ira Noah.
Taglined ‘Meat Substitute? Meet Jackfruit’, NANKA is currently available in three versions: 100% plant-based patty made from jackfruit and mushrooms, 70% mixed plant with 30% chicken patty, and 70% mixed plant with 30% beef patty.
“Our target market is the meat-eaters and the mixed meat versions are there to prepare them to phase out the meat intake with the psychology of ‘if you still want to eat meat, at least try to eat less’,” Syafik added.
A recent Global Data 2020 Market Pulse Consumer Survey shows that more than 50% of Malaysians are reducing, or at least attempting to reduce their meat intake, and 2021 is certainly seeing a continual rise of this trend.
Differing from hype diets and passing fads, a healthy diet does not revolve around limiting food groups for weight loss. Most who attempt to reduce meat intake do so to tackle environmental impacts such as water scarcity and pollution, for animal rights, or simply to improve their health.
“A lot of time when some people tried our patties in various events, they were in disbelief to learn that 70% of the patties were actually made from jackfruit,” said Syafik, adding that most feel full longer with the very fibrous NANKA burger patties.
HALAL certified and MeSTI approved, the NANKA patties contain zero preservatives, zero colouring, zero flavouring, and are also GMO free and gluten free.
Instead of consuming highly processed fast food, young kids and even senior citizens can opt for a healthier choice of the NANKA burger patties that provide a soft meaty texture similar to pulled chicken.
“The working mothers who are very conscious of their family’s health are our targeted customers too. Our online sales have performed much better since those mothers started to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. They tend to cook more at home, and prefer a food source that is wholesome, without preservatives, colouring and flavouring,” said Syafik, adding that the NANKA mixed meat versions are made with lean cuts and not fillers like internal organs, which some patty distributors do.
Currently, there are two formats of how NANKA is presented to the customers: ready-to-cook patties and ready-to-eat dishes. Besides online business targeted on the end users, the ready-to-cook patties are supplied to hotels, vegetarian cafes, restaurants and cloud kitchen vendors. For those who reside in Klang Valley can place an order for the ready-to-eat NANKA burgers via a selected food ordering app.
“Jackfruit meat is just the beginning of our journey in making plant-based meat alternatives. We are already involved in joint ventures with other plant-based and cultured-meat companies to further develop our line of products. Besides meat, I am looking at introducing plant-based dairy products like butter and mashed eggs,” said Syafik, adding that Ira Noah is in the pipeline to improve market access in retail stores on home ground, and to develop export markets in Japan, Singapore, India and Australia.