In June 1995, a group of 20 students and 5 lecturers from the Chemical Process & Biotechnology Department, Singapore Polytechnic got together to work on an inter-disciplinary project. The aim of the project was to provide 5,000 bottles of fruit drink for the CPB Open House scheduled for March 1996.
One group of students started off by conducting a market survey on different types of exotic fruit drinks to identify the one that was most accepted by the public and would have a strong market potential. This group of final year students from the Diploma in Chemical Process Technology course (Food Option) narrowed down the choice (ranging from durian to orange) to a mixture of lemon and kalamansi (a local version of lime).
Another group of Food Option students then began to work on the formulation of the identified fruit drink. Lemon and kalamansi drinks of different compositions were prepared for fellow students to taste. Tasting was conducted in the department's Sensory Evaluation Laboratory. From the survey results, the students applied their knowledge in statistical testing and experimental design to come up with a winning formulation.
The final formulation was passed on to two other groups of Food Option students for pilot plant trial. Students made use of the department's fully automated pilot plant for large scale production. The pilot plant automatically handles processes such as pasteurization, cooling and bottling.
Students from the Polymer Option designed and manufactured our very own plastic bottles for the fruit drink. All the bottles were designed and produced using the plastics injection molding machines housed in the department's Polymer Workshop.
All processes, raw materials and final products were subjected to stringent quality control and quality assurance checking to ensure that the final product complies with Food Legislation in Singapore. Quality checks were carried out by a group of students from the Industrial Chemistry Option. Based on the test results, the Ministry of the Environment gave her approval for the team to manufacture and distribute 5,000 bottles of the fruit drink for the department's Open House.
In October 1995, the team decided to enter the project in the Second National Entrepreneurship Competition. A group of 7 students from Business Administration Department joined in the team. They studied the financial and marketing aspects of the drink. By the end of the 1995, the drink was crowned " Lemonsi Delight".
The project entered the finals of the Second National Entrepreneurship Competition. The success of the project attracted the keen interest of one of the locally-based international drink manufacturers; Pokka Corporation (Singapore) Ltd. The company produced 5,000 cans of Lemonsi Delight to test the market. The drink was sold during the Chemical Process & Biotechnology Department Open House 96. Within less than two and a half days, the drinks were all sold out. The department collected more than $1,400. The money was donated to a needy final-year student. Two more batches of Lemonsi Delight were produced to satisfy the market demand before the official launch.
A memorandum of understanding (M.O.U.) was signed on 26th August 1996 between Pokka Corporation (Singapore) and the Singapore Polytechnic. According to the M.O.U., Pokka Corporation (Singapore) will be paying Singapore Polytechnic a certain percentage of sales in Lemonsi Delight in the form of sponsorship in the years to come. In September 1996, Pokka Corporation launched full-scale production and marketing of "Lemonsi Delight".
An all-new packaging design was used for the official launch in the Singapore market in September. More than 150,000 people tasted Lemonsi Delight during the Technology Fair '96. The forecast sales figure in Singapore alone is around 6 million cans a year. "Lemonsi Delight" entered the Malaysia market in November 1996 and will eventually be reaching markets in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, China and Japan.
As part of the marketing plan, advertisements appeared in the local newspapers, and a TV commercial was jointly produced by Pokka Corporation and Singapore Polytechnic. The TV commercial was aired during prime time TV programmes during the Christmas and 1997 New Year holidays.
A simple idea to meet a need to provide 5000 bottles of refreshment for an event has snowballed into a full-fledged commercial venture. Lemonsi Delight now has a life of its own and is still on sale on in 2007!
Link to Pokka Corporation (Singapore) Ltd: http://www.pokka.com.sg/