In Macao, people lead busy lives and are accustomed to taking some time to enjoy a cup of coffee, milk tea or hot chrysanthemum honey. Kam Loi Syrup Factory, which started as a small street-side stall, has over 60 years of history and insists on local production. Its concentrated watercress syrup, chrysanthemum syrup and fig syrup have become essential ingredients for many local cafes. In recent years, the management of Kam Loi has been taken over by the third generation of the family, who is committed to product innovation and market expansion, as well as upholding Macao’s classic taste and collective memory.
Chrysanthemum syrup is best known to the public
Rose syrup nourishes skin and regulates menstruation
Preserving Cantonese herbal tea culture by making beverages with heart
Kam Loi Factory is located in an industrial building in Ilha Verde, adhering to the principle of “making products with heart and passing on the time-honoured brand”. Kam Loi’s fig syrup aids digestion and enhances appetite, rose syrup nourishes the skin and regulates menstruation. Chrysanthemum syrup, which is Kam Loi’s most popular product, is good for the liver and eyesight, and tastes delicious and refreshing. Watercress syrup can relieve irritation and cough and nourish skin. In a way, Kam Loi has simplified Cantonese medicine tea into healthy drinks suitable for the young and old alike.
According to the person in charge, Chan Weng Si, the best syrup to water ratio is 1:6 and the drink can be served hot or iced. Flavours can be enhanced with the addition of lemon, soda water or sliced ginger. All concentrated beverages are sweetened with natural cane sugar, with no other additives.
A classic Macao flavour for over 60 years
The origins of Kam Loi syrup can be traced back to 1954, when “Uncle Tea” started a street-side tea stall. Back then, Uncle Tea woke up before sunrise everyday to make watercress syrup so that kids in Macao could have a healthy drink. In the 1970s, he set up a factory to produce standardised concentrated beverages and created his own brand. Now in its third generation, Kam Loi Syrup has replaced glass bottles with plastic bottles, making it more convenient for mass production. Nonetheless, Kam Loi sticks to the traditional ways of boiling, bottling and pasting labels before delivering to supermarkets and restaurants through agents.
Among the concentrated beverages made by Kam Loi, fig syrup is the original drink of Macao. According to Chan, it was a Western missionary who gave Uncle Tea this secret recipe to make syrup from fig leaves.
Chan Weng Si, person-in-charge of Kam Loi Syrup Factory
Watercress syrup relieves irritation and cough, and nourishes skin
Fig syrup aids digestion and increases appetite
Dedication to innovation and transformation to upgrade the brand
Due to complicated making process and limited production, the factory can only produce a maximum of about 1,000 500ml bottles of syrup per day. For many years, the price of Kam Loi products has been very close to the cost, so there is not much room for profit adjustment and the factory can only accept thin profit margins to gain volume. The brand urgently needs to innovate and transform so as to add value.
In terms of product innovation, Kam Loi recently co-operated with a Taiwan factory and launched healthy chrysanthemum drink in aluminium cans to cater to young people’s preference for ready-to-drink beverages. The first batch sold very well. To boost sales in the local market, the brand is present on various e-commerce platforms and has been associated with some design brands to sell products on a mutually beneficial basis. Kam Loi is also collaborating with Macao designers and planning to incorporate young and local elements to the packaging in order to tell the Macao story and revitalise the brand’s presence.
As for market expansion, Kam Loi Syrup has been actively participating in various major exhibitions and business matching sessions organised by the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) in recent years. It has joined the delegation to visit Southeast Asia and learn about business management. Kam Loi has been invited to join “Macao Ideas” under IPIM to promote products to the public and local and overseas buyers. At present, apart from establishing a stronghold in the Macao market, Kam Loi is also enhancing its sales chain to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and more places, and gradually expanding into the mainland market.
Four flavours with distinctive tastes
If you are interested in discussing co-operation with the above-mentioned company, please contact the staff of “Macao Ideas” during office hours.
Ms Cheang +853 8798 9707
Ms Chong +853 8798 9739