RTE Stuffed Mussels - A Business Venture of ABI Incubatee from ICAR-CIFT takes wings

The Mussels considered as one of the most nutritive food rich in vitamin A, B12, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin; high in mineral contents like Iron, Zinc, manganese, phosphorus and selenium is a good source of Omega -3 fatty acids enriched with easily digestible protein and essential amino acids. Its daily intake stimulates the brain functions, improves heart health, promotes cellular functions, facilitates blood circulation, reduces arthritis and prevents anaemia and asthma.

RTE Stuffed Mussels - A Business Venture of ABI Incubatee from ICAR-CIFT takes wings  RTE Stuffed Mussels - A Business Venture of ABI Incubatee from ICAR-CIFT takes wings

The Kozhikode District in the North-Western part of Kerala is famous for its authentic and delicious food recipes, resulting from the amalgamation of different food cultures mingled with the locally available world quality spices.

Having a strong determination to start a business on his own with some innovations, Shri Mohammed Fawas T.C., a 21 years old highly ambitious young man ventured to start the entrepreneurship in seafood sector with the Ready-To-Eat (RTE) Mussel products. He established a small production unit in early 2018 at Chaliyam adjacent to Kadukka Bazaar, Kozhikode with his co-partners. The trio started concentrating on selling the stuffed Mussel with exquisite blend of rice and condiments in fried form (“Kallumakkayi nirachath” in Malayalam), a well-known traditional snack recipe in Kerala, but they faced the problem of shelf-life period due to lack of proper packaging. Initially, they used to sell the stuffed Mussels packed in a locally available aluminum foils, which failed to uphold the quality of the product that tend to decay fast within few hours of storage, resulting a heavy loss to his business. Under these circumstances, Shri Fawas and his partners consulted the ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Kochi for the technical support for improved packaging.

ICAR-CIFT intervention

RTE Stuffed Mussels - A Business Venture of ABI Incubatee from ICAR-CIFT takes wingsThe ICAR-CIFT suggested Shri Fawas and his team the technology developed by the Scientists of the Institute as an appropriate technology for solving their problem. The scientific technique of thermal processing or high temperature processing was used for product storage without adding any chemical preservatives to enhance the products’ shelf life at room temperature. Shri Fawas got registered as an Incubatee at the Agri-business Incubation Centre of ICAR-CIFT during the month of November - 2018.

The ICAR-CIFT-ABI provided Shri Fawas (Incubate) with the necessary technical supports for processing the Classic Malabar Snack “Stuffed Green Mussel” from the inception stage itself. It involved procurement of fresh Green Mussels, stuffed with traditionally blended rice and other ingredients, then packed carefully in food grade retort pouch at high temperature, sufficient to kill pathogens of public health significance and, thus, increasing the product’s shelf life.

Firstly, the product trials were conducted at the Institute’s pilot plant facility during December - 2018. After the successful test marketing, Shri Fawas registered a company during April - 2019 by the name of M/S Foo Foods Pvt. Ltd. at Chaliyam, Kozhikode to create a marketing brand “FOO FOODS” for the product. The technology was transferred by ICAR-CIFT through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the party.

Later, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & DG (ICAR) launched the product christened as “Kallummakkaya Nirachath” on 25th May - 2019 during a function held at the ICAR-CIFT, Cochin.

Product Convenience

The RTE stuffed Mussel product developed at the ICAR-CIFT-ABI Centre got several advantages like long shelf life under the normal room temperature without refrigeration, no chemical preservatives and additives for retaining the food quality and wholesome, no trans-fat and low in cholesterol, gluten-free keeping intact the freshness and taste throughout the year. The entire content is edible without wastage after initial pre-heating.

Product’s commercial importance

The RTE stuffed Mussel product “Kallummakkaya Nirachath” was highly appreciated by the consumers and retailers in respect of its quality, taste and cost. The product is now available in the Hypermarkets and Supermarkets in Kozhikode and Malabar regions throughout the year with a market price of only Rs. 140 per pack (125 gms.) containing five stuffed Mussels. The cost of production was estimated to be Rs. 740 per Kg. of Mussels with average monthly production of 375 Kg. of RTE stuffed Mussel products. The net profit of the company after meeting all the expenditures is around Rs. 1,42,500 per month with BCR 1.51.

Shri Fawaz initially invested about Rs. 30,000 for establishing a small production unit and availed the technical facilities for thermal packaging of products through out-sourcing. Within a period of almost one year, he could introduce the taste of Kerala to the table of fish lovers spread across the gulf countries. Owing to the increasing market demand of the product and again the brand popularity, now M/S Foo Foods Pvt. Ltd., Chaliyam is in the forefront in seafood entrepreneurship. With the present pace of momentum, the company expects to create a business turnover of Rs. 25 Crores by the Year - 2025. In addition, the Company is also planning to roll out more ethnic food recipes as convenience foods in the near future.

(Source: ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Cochin, Kerala)