When Chee Seng Oil first started business in 1943, it was during the Japanese Occupation where there was a shortage of edible oils. Chee Seng seized the opportunity and started producing coconut oil. But it was only in 1956 that Chee Seng discovered its true calling—producing sesame oil.
At that time, there were over 10 other companies manufacturing this aromatic oil, but Chee Seng was different. The first to use wok roasting and hydraulic machines as part of its processes, Chee Seng put itself ahead of the pack in producing quality sesame oil.
In 1983, the company moved from its original premises in Serangoon to Defu Industrial Estate due to the government’s land-use zoning policy. With better conditions at the new factory site, Chee Seng also improved its production technologies with new machinery such as semi-automatic filling machines and oil filter machines. This not only marked its first steps into modern manufacturing the investment also paid off with boosted productivity.
By then, its marketing had an overhaul. Chee Seng was selective in advertising their brands using a variety of mediums from print to television. It also released a wider range of products under its brand Double Pagoda, including garlic oil, ginger oil and spicy sesame oil. At the same time, the company overhauled its packaging with new bottle and cap designs, to capture the global consumer’s attention in the early 2010s. With these improvements in place, Chee Seng was able to capture a wider international consumer base and break into foreign markets such as Europe and Southeast Asia.
By keeping up with modern technology and trends, this Singapore brand was able to maintain its high product standards while expanding its business. This was well rewarded: From 1988 to 1992, Chee Seng was awarded the International Monde Selection gold medal for high product quality and packaging design. Later in 2000, Chee Seng became the first sesame oil manufacturer to be ISO 9002 certified for its compliance with international quality standards.
The company will be moving again to a newer facility soon and plans to adopt the latest machinery and processes to maintain its standards. Keeping up with technology has long been key to its success. Decades ago, Chee Seng claimed the hearts of Singaporeans with its superior sesame oil. Seventy-four years on, it continues to impress with its tireless pursuit of excellence.
Read up on Chee Seng’s 74-year old history here.
This post is brought to you in partnership with Chee Seng Sesame Oil. For more information, please visit Chee Seng’s website or Facebook page.
Cover: The bestselling Chee Seng Sesame Oil, now available in a new bottle with fine-pouring, non-drip cap
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s August 2017 issue – ‘Love Singapore’