Elon Musk makes headlines in Indonesia for giving thumbs up to Kopiko candy

“I hope this is not our last meeting and in the future, we can talk about Indonesia’s progress in developing its nickel industry,” Luhut said in a statement, adding that Musk had promised to meet President Joko Widodo at SpaceX headquarters in California on May 14.

While the idea of getting Musk to invest in Indonesia sounded exciting, it was the Kopiko connection that created a caffeinated buzz in Indonesia. Some internet users assumed Luhut gave Musk the candies so that he would not doze off during the meeting due to Musk’s perceived lack of sleep.

Close up image of coffee candy by Kopiko. Photo: Shutterstock

Close up image of coffee candy by Kopiko. Photo: Shutterstock

“I guess he’ll purchase the whole Mayora next month,” a Twitter user said, referring to the candy’s producer.

Other users quickly pointed out that Nasa astronauts also thought the snack was out of this world, taking the sweet into space in 2017.

This isn’t the first time the candy became a potent brew for national headlines.

Previously, Kopiko was seen in Korean dramas, such as Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Vincenzo, Mine, and Yumi’s Cells, as part of a savvy product placement strategy to ride on Korea’s status currently shaping the global cultural zeitgeist.

The candy’s cameos on K-dramas were “[a] good opportunity, not only for Kopiko, but also for Indonesians so they will be proud that a home-made product has made it into a global brand,” Ricky Afrianto, global marketing director at PT Mayora Indah TBK, the candy producer, said during the Asean Marketing Summit in November, as cited by Indonesian news portal IDN Times.

Musk’s affection for the confection proved beneficial to the company as its stock rose 7.3 percentage points the day after he was introduced to the sweet, before settling down at IDR 1750 (US$0.12) this week.

“We thank Mr. Luhut for bringing an Indonesian pride product on his state visit,” Andre Atmadja, president director at Mayora, said in a statement.

Kopiko’s heady starring role during the meeting between Musk and Luhut even sparked speculation by a lawmaker from the ruling PDI-P that Luhut had some sort of business ties with Mayora. Luhut’s spokesman Jodi Mahardi denied the accusation.

“Luhut has no link with Mayora Group,” Jodi told CNN Indonesia, adding the reason the minister brought the coffee-flavoured candies was to promote Indonesian products.

In Indonesia, Kopiko needs no promotion. The candy, named after the kopiko coffee bean typically found in Hawaii, were first made in 1982 by Mayora, one of the country’s largest food and beverage companies which also sells coffee, cereal, biscuits, instant noodles, and more.

Despite the name, Mayora claimed that Kopiko sourced its beans from Indonesia, whose volcanic soil provides fertile ground for coffee production.

Mayora’s history dates back to 1948, when the Atmadjas, a Chinese-Indonesian family, started making biscuits from their house and sold them under the brand ‘Marie.’ In 1976, the family sold another brand of biscuits called ‘Roma’ and a year later, they established Mayora with their business partners after opening their first factory in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

Kopiko coffee flavoured candy. Photo: Shutterstock

Kopiko coffee flavoured candy. Photo: Shutterstock

Nowadays, Mayora’s confectionery, coffee, and instant noodles can easily be found at small and large retailers nationwide, as well as in 99 other countries around the globe.

The company is currently led by Jogi Hendra Atmadja, a 76 year-old Chinese-Indonesian billionaire. Forbes listed him as Indonesia’s ninth richest person last year, with an estimated net worth of US$4.1 billion.

But even Jogi’s wealth, is half that of the empire of Anthony Salim, a Chinese-Indonesian business mogul and chief executive of Indofood, the company behind Indomie, a world-famous instant noodle and another source of pride among Indonesians.


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