Organic food and healthy lifestyles are becoming more popular in Indonesia.
Indonesians prefer home-cooked meals but lack time to shop and cook from scratch.
Busy urbanites, professionals and modern homemakers are becoming more sophisticated consumers of healthy lifestyle products including groceries and gourmet meals.
BlackGarlic was inspired by Blue Apron, a subscription-based food startup from the US. However, BlackGarlic offers more flexibility, with a minimum of one box to be delivered each week. Each box contains ingredients and instructions for a minimum of two meal kits. Customers can skip deliveries or cancel their subscriptions at any time.
The meal kit contains a recipe for a specific dish and the necessary ingredients, which are prepared and proportioned to minimize waste and to reduce the effort needed for a home-cooked meal. This enables customers to save time on shopping for the right ingredients, difficult food preparation and demanding cooking tasks. Each meal can be ready in less than an hour.
Only fresh organic ingredients, without preservatives or MSG, are used for the local and international dishes. The new BlackGarlic Express menu offers three variations of the popular local dish, Rendang. A delivery charge of IDR 20,000 is payable for trial boxes. Regular users enjoy free delivery.
However, the use of excessive packaging to keep the various food ingredients fresh and intact for delivery to the customers is a major challenge for meal kit suppliers. Target consumers are often environmental and LOHAS advocates. LOHAS is the acronym for "Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability", a new consumer group classification often cited as the main target of startups like Blue Apron and BlackGarlic.
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May, originally founded by Michael Saputra and Willy Haryanto; Olivia Wongso was recruited to join the team.
As a restaurateur and the daughter of Indonesian celebrity chef William Wongso, Olivia helped to expand the food network and sourcing facilities of BlackGarlic.
The Wongso duo also created recipes specially for the startup.
July, full launch of BlackGarlic meal kit delivery services with three menu items per week.
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January, raised undisclosed amount of seed funding from Convergence Ventures and Skystar Capital.
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July, Co-founders of BlackGarlic decided to shut down existing operations, including the loss-making meal kit subscriptions due to the high costs of customer acquisition and retention.
Michael Saputra stated that the market was not yet ready for the gourmet meal kits.
Existing operations officially ceased on July 19 and customers were advised to spend any remaining BlackGarlic credits on BlackGarlic Express products instead.
Former advisor and celebrity chef William Wongso took over the brand to focus on developing the BlackGarlic Express line of products comprising ready-to-eat meals and Wongso’s trademark seasoning mixes.
According to outgoing CEO and co-founder Michael Saputra, BlackGarlic managed to attract over 10,000 customers over the past two years but had difficulties retaining them to generate the much needed repeat business to make the business sustainable and profitable.
William Wongso Kuliner, the food company owned by Indonesian celebrity chef William Wirjaatmadja Wongso, now owns the BlackGarlic brand that will focus on supplying BlackGarlic Express ready-to-eat meals and seasoning mixes. He is widely known as Indonesia’s Food Ambassador and has just launched an award-winning gourmet cookbook “Flavors of Indonesia, William Wongso’s Culinary Wonders”.