Following our previous Local Heroes blog series, we believe that it is essential to keep highlighting the figures behind the Indonesian culinary scene as they play a significant role in nourishing Indonesia’s gastronomic world. For the seventh installment of our Local Heroes series, we have Ayu Linggih, Founder of Rosalie Cheese in Bali and Jakarta.
Fermented food has always been Ayu Linggih’s passion and her background in food science led her to found Rosalie Cheese, a food tech company that produces artisanal food products through market-based innovation. “The idea started when I saw an increasing demand of natural cheese in Indonesia, but a limited supply of local products and highly priced import products. Furthermore, the number of small dairy farms in Indonesia is increasing, providing an abundant supply of milk with a competitive price,” explained Ayu.
When Ayu saw that her passion met with the market demand, she starts producing high quality cheese products that can both compete with international products and fit the local taste.
Ayu explained that Rosalie Cheese mainly produced natural Indonesian cheese from farm fresh ingredients without preservatives and food coloring. “Our aim is to create specialty cheese with a unique twist on local flavor, developed to suit the local and international taste,” continued Ayu.
High quality cheeses in Indonesia are mostly imported and usually are very expensive due to the high import tax and exchange rate. This is a challenge especially for hotels and restaurants, which solely relies on imported cheese. On the other hand, most locals can only afford the lower priced cheese, which is low grade processed cheese. With Rosalie Cheese, Ayu aims to solve those issues by producing local high-quality natural cheese with a medium price range, providing better value than the imported and local competitions’ products.
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Ayu’s parents always encouraged her and her brothers to try as many things as they can and not to fear failure. “The strong relationship and support from my family plays an important role on my journey as the founder of Rosalie Cheese,” she said.
Of course her innovative ideas also came with challenges. The biggest challenge that Ayu faced with Rosalie Cheese is the difficulty in attracting local customers due to different taste and preferences towards cheese. “We need to spend a lot of time and effort to iterate our products,” said Ayu. After a period of product developments and market testing, Rosalie Cheese started to attract domestic customers by adjusting their flavors and collaborating with chefs to show fun ways to eat their products, such as by creating a recipe using their cheese.
Ayu believes that every region in the world has their own unique characteristic in terms of dairy products. With Indonesia, the climate, variation of plant-life and soils will impact the flavor of the cheese produced. In her opinion, people will have the desire to try different origins of cheese – just like coffee. Ayu also sees that the food trends in Indonesia are definitely going towards healthier, sustainable packaging and responsible producer.