Health awareness in Indonesia is at a very low level, especially in the cities, as Indonesians tend to eat too much unhealthy food and exercise too little. Therefore, health awareness is something that needs to be encouraged in Indonesia. However, government programs - such as the "Healthy Four, Perfect Five" principles - seem to have limited effect and therefore there is plenty of room for the private sector to encourage consumers to lead a healthier lifestyle. In fact, encouraging a healthier lifestyle can become part of a business model.
One company that stands out in Indonesia in terms of combining entrepreneurship and the promotion of a healthier lifestyle in Indonesia is Jakarta-based Lemonilo Indonesia Sehat (Lemonilo), a company that was established in 2016 by three young Indonesians who met while they were studying in the USA: Shinta Nurfauzia, Yohannes Ardiant, and Ronald Wijaya.
Lemonilo is an e-commerce platform that is solely focused on healthy, natural and affordable food & beverage products, beauty & body products, and supplements. The company's key mission is to help Indonesians adopting a happier and more productive life by encouraging them to consume healthier products that are affordable and easy to consume. The products that are sold through www.lemonilo.com are made by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are scattered across the country.
But what is particularly interesting about this company is that Lemonilo is more than just the online facilitator between local manufacturers and consumers. In cooperation with several manufacturers, the company also launched its own Lemonilo-branded line of products.
Considering the e-commerce business is a thriving industry in Indonesia, while people's awareness of healthier lifestyles is gradually improving hence spending on healthy products is rising, it is the right moment to sit down with Lemonilo co-founder and CEO Shinta Nurfauzia at her office in the Unifam Tower (West Jakarta) to talk about health, entrepreneurship and Lemonilo.
Question: How come the lifestyles of many Indonesians are unhealthy?
Shinta: Unhealthy lifestyles in Indonesia are indeed caused by Indonesians' low awareness of health. A healthy lifestyle is not really that natural in Indonesia. And there are three contributing factors that explain why Indonesians tend to eat too much unhealthy food: Firstly, the price of healthy products is really expensive and therefore it is only Indonesia's upper middle class or upper class that can afford to buy these products. Meanwhile, the middle class and lower class have no, or very limited, access to quality and healthy products.
Secondly, Indonesians have become addicted to the tasty and greasy taste of unhealthy food which includes too much sugar and monosodium glutamate (MSG). For example, Indonesia now has the biggest per capita instant noodle consumption ratio in the world, even higher than in China. Therefore, it is uncomfortable for Indonesians to eat and drink healthy food on a daily basis.
Thirdly, unhealthy food is much more readily available across the country because the majority of food and beverage producers that focus on healthy products are small-sized companies and therefore the distribution of their products, across the nation, is curtailed. Moreover, they have limited access to good insights or data and have limited resources for matters such as marketing and branding. Therefore, they only operate on a very local level.
Read the full article & interview in the July 2018 edition of our monthly research report.