Advertisement
JIS News

“Tasty,” is the word used to describe one of the Scientific Research Council’s (SRC) latest food formulations – an innovative mannish water soup mix – a traditional dish enjoyed by most Jamaicans.
This is the view of General Manager of a subsidiary of the SRC, Marketech Limited, Roselyn Fisher, who notes that this initiative is in keeping with the agency’s mandate of developing novel, exotic products, using local raw material.
Having already pioneered some 17 food formulations, the SRC’s soup mix has now allowed for a more convenient form of this distinctly Jamaican cuisine – in a can.
“We are aware that Jamaicans love their goat soup, ram goat soup or mannish water and that it is sometimes not convenient for you to have it as you desire. So we thought of a way in which we could have it in a convenient form, which is in a can. All you would need to do is to reheat it,” Miss Fisher tells JIS News.
She notes that the mannish water mix, which was officially launched last year, is also targeting the Jamaican Diaspora. “You can feel at home away from home.because you also can tap into the culture and the Jamaican cuisine,” the General Manager points out.
Made from water, ram goat meat, tubers, vegetables, seasonings, herbs and spices, the mix, dubbed ‘Real Jamaica Mannish Water’, has a shelf life of 24 months and can be found in some supermarkets.
According to the General Manager, the project to formulate a mannish water soup mix was embarked on in 2004. During the following year, members of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), as well as members of the public, participated in taste testing the product. An advertisement for the formula’s sale was then placed in the newspaper. Spanish Town-based distributors, Caribbean Community Consumers Limited (CCC), responded and bought the mix in 2006.
The SRC has an exclusive contract with CCC, with the company now packaging and distributing the product. Explaining the terms of the contract,
Miss Fisher notes that the SRC initially offers support through its pilot plant, by producing the mix, and the CCC providing the raw material. After this, the company is expected to start its own operations.
“We offer support through marketing, in terms of any information that they need and if it’s necessary, we put them in touch with persons who would want to purchase the product,” she further informs. The SRC also assisted the CCC with launching the soup mix.
The SRC is also helping the company to address some challenges that have arisen in the process. One such issue is the inadequate supply of goat meat. “We are trying to see how we can assist and I have had dialogue with goat farmers to see how there can be linkages to supply the needs of this company,” the General Manager says.
Citing other challenges, Miss Fisher notes that the SRC’s pilot plant is small, and is therefore unable to supply CCC with the volume of product it needs. “There is of course scope for this product to expand, based on demand, because the demand for it is not only in Jamaica but in some other Caribbean islands; it’s just growing and growing,” she says.
Despite the entire process being done at international standards, having been Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System (HACCAP) certified, difficulties have also been encountered in terms of exporting meat to the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).
“Our meats can be exported because we ensure that good manufacturing practices are maintained…the quality of our products are good, but there are certain import restrictions as it relates to meat, that we have no control over. We have made a request to have dialogue with our Government and the US and UK to see what we can do about it, but it is still in the discussion stage,” Miss Fisher tells JIS News.
She points out that possible challenges that may arise within the Caribbean, can be overcome, allowing for export.
Other food formulations the SRC has sold over the years include: jerk seasoning; callaloo in brine; ackee in brine; gungo and red peas soups, with and without meat; plantain and banana chips, and sorrel squash.
An agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the SRC is Jamaica’s chief public sector agency that is responsible for the fostering and co-ordination of scientific research and the promotion of its application.
Most of the Council’s projects support the growth and development of the agro-industrial sector in Jamaica, through research, adaptation of available technologies, creation of new and appropriate technologies and the provision of training and technical assistance.
Marketech Limited carries out the Council’s marketing, business development and communication functions. The activities of Marketech facilitate linkages and strategic alliances with internal and external customers, to facilitate the development and transfer of technologies.