When our founder Mr Ong Tong Guan left his hometown of Fujian Province in China for Singapore in 1933, he was filled with hopes and dreams of a great future ahead. But he wasn’t expecting that he would soon start a little peanut business, one that would grow into one of Asia’s greatest nut giants.
Tong Garden began in Singapore with one man, his bicycle, and the humble peanut. Today, we’re a household name in Southeast Asia with a much wider range of products.
But even after five decades, some things stay the same. We’re still family-owned and operated. More importantly, we’re not just another profit-driven company. It was passion that drove our founder Ong Tong Guan to start the business. Along the way, this same passion helped us grow into a serious food manufacturer and a formidable competitor.
Being passion-driven simply means that we care deeply about our products, our people and our customers. Most of all, it means that we’ll never compromise on quality, and we’re constantly innovating to bring you more great-tasting snacks.
With a small zinc roof factory and only a few staff, we began operations with Peking peanuts, a variant known for being unusually large.
Gradually, we expanded our product range to cater to different appetites. In 1966, we started selling Shandong peanuts. And in 1970, we introduced the cashew. This expansion meant we needed a bigger space, so we moved to a bigger factory at Geylang Bahru in 1973. Thereafter, we added broad beans (1974), cracker biscuits (1975), as well as chickpeas and green peas (1977) to our product range.
In 1980, Tong Garden Food Products Pte Ltd was formally incorporated in Singapore. Four years later, we established our presence in Malaysia. This was followed by Hong Kong in 1986, and Thailand in 1989.
Even as we were moving across boundaries, our focus on the quality of our products remained. In 1984, we introduced pistachios to the market with a new packaging, and at a lower retail price. While others packed their pistachios in plastic, we used aluminium foil. This was revolutionary at that time, as it helped retain the freshness of the pistachios. All these factors quickly made us the market leader for pistachios.
To accommodate this rapid expansion, our factory moved once more in 1987. We settled in at Chin Bee Crescent, in premises that are twenty times larger.
In 1990, we introduced our second brand, NOI. Our product range continues to grow with almonds (1989), macadamias (1991), sunflower kernels (1993), among others. And in 1995, we also started supplying in-flight snacks to major airlines.
Alongside our customers’ changing tastes, we experimented with new products to offer something innovative and refreshing. This resulted in our honey-coated nut series (1998), Seaweed & Wasabi Cashew Nuts Mixed Macadamias, and most recently, our Almonds with Dried Cranberries and Banana Chips. New products, new processes, aggressive strategies and creative use of R&D produced triple digit growth in sales between 1996 and today for Tong Garden.
Tong Garden continues to rank at the top in South-east Asian markets when it comes to nuts products and snacks.
In 2014, Tong Garden was the overall winner of the Singapore Prestige Brand Award (Heritage Brands Category), for brands that have been established for more than 25 years.
These product innovations and production volumes were made possible with our two manufacturing plants in Thailand and Malaysia, which has a combined land of 20 acres and nearly 1,000 staff. Currently, we’re also setting up offices in various countries to expand our distribution network. Coupled with Tong Garden’s ability to capitalise on quality, food safety, great taste and other health benefits of nuts, more growth can be expected. We will continue reaching out to a wider base of customers across the region and continue developing more exciting products for everyone in the years to come.