Meet one of our distributors: Frances Ma
How did you first find out about LittlePod?
I was in the UK in 2011 when The Restaurant Show at Earls Court was happening. I had been looking for new and interesting brands to bring back to Hong Kong and the very first thing I noticed was this incredible specialist vanilla company called LittlePod with their unique design for the retail vanilla paste in tube. Of course, the vanilla champagne truffles helped too! Even the first time I spoke with Janet at the show, I immediately wanted to work with LittlePod in any capacity possible. From then on, the rest is history!
What attracted you to LP?
Firstly, the amazing energy and knowledge that Janet has about real vanilla. It is to this day the inspiration and passion that I want to convey in my company and the brands I represent. Secondly, the ethos behind the brand and giving back to the community is very attractive because nowadays, you have manufacturers producing mass volume of products and the 'human' factor is always lacking. With LittlePod, it is the story of the vanilla farming communities and sustainability that gives the human factor - LittlePod doesn't just say it, they make it happen hands-on which is very special.
How would you describe LP in 3 words?
Wow, only 3 words?!? Exceptional, fantastic and incredible!
What do you love most about LittlePod?
I can't pinpoint one thing that I love about LittlePod because there are just too many! Aside from its great quality, one thing for certain, when you talk or email to Janet and her team, they are so professional and passionate about vanilla that you immediately feel part of LittlePod's family. The experience of working with such a great brand and people is hard to come by and this makes you want to push harder and tell everyone about LittlePod.
What do people in Hong Kong think about LP?
Hong Kong is an odd city. We had been spoilt with choices in terms of imported ingredients from all over the world for a long time and therefore, it takes much longer to change people's buying behaviour. However, with recent high prices and shortage of vanilla pods, we have seen a significant increase in the usage of the vanilla paste from our customers and slowly but surely, we are paving the way for LittlePod in HK. For me and like everyone else, once you use LP vanilla paste, you just don't want to bother with pod as it is so convenient.
Does real vanilla have a lot of support in HK?
Sadly, not as much as I would like to see but we are shouting from the rooftops about the use of real vanilla! The influx of artificial flavouring and cheaper alternatives such as vanillin doesn't help the market either. Of course, top hotels and bakeries will still use vanilla pods as the split pods can be cooked over and over again to make custard. We are still pretty behind in terms of using vanilla paste but we hope this trend will take over as the shortage of pods in the market is becoming apparent for the last year.
What’s been your best vanilla moment so far?
My best vanilla moment has to be meeting Janet in Devon and she kindly drove me through her town and to her customers then to LittlePod's HQ! We did a launch at the HK British Consulate in 2012 with an Alice in Wonderland theme and then more recently last year, I did a cooking demonstration at HKs Shatin's College which was posted in the YoungPost SMCP - best day ever with super talented kids to recreate my dish using LittlePod's vanilla paste!
What’s your favourite vanilla recipe?
From day one to now, it's still vanilla shortbread because you can quickly whip up a batch, share it or binge eat the whole lot anytime of the day!! Also it shows off LittlePod's vanilla paste very well.