labels: advertising/branding
Now, taste the grease in your foodnews
Venkatachari Jagannathan
18 February 2002

Chennai: A grease sandwich. Wait a sec - before throwing up, hear what Gunjan Pandey, a senior officer at FoodWorks, has to say: If the grease is made of food-grade ingredients, then even a greased sandwich is edible.

Part of the KSA Technopak group, FoodWorks is into marketing food ingredients like natural and synthetic flavours, marzyme, cheese and curd cultures, apart from food-grade grease. Says FoodWorks business manager Rahul Chaudhari: Food-grade grease is a concept product in India. Abroad, several pharma and food processing industries use the product as the chance of normal grease contaminating drug or food does exist.

Says Pandey: In Italy, even locomotives use this food-grade grease for lubrication. The railway lines run close to the agriculture fields and the Italians would like to avoid even the remote chance of usual grease-spilling on to the ground and getting mixed with the grains and later entering the human system.

Almost all equipment used in Indian food-processing and pharmaceutical industry use grease to lubricate various moving parts. These may be lithium-, silicone-, petroleum- or molybdenum-based. Such non-food grease is not only harmful but also lethal if it comes into contact with food or drug during production.

FoodWorks is currently importing the grease from a South African company and markets it here under the brand name Megalube. Currently, food-grade grease is not manufactured in India. Says Tide Water Oil Company general manager (southern region) R B Ananth: The volumes are low and inspection requirements are stringent. The domestic food-processing industry is yet to develop to warrant demand for such grease. Apart from lubrication, Megalube could be used as an antirust agent in those equipment, say like big containers and vessels, used for food preparation and storage.

Chaudhari says price is the limiting factor for food-grade grease gaining popularity. Such grease is three times costlier than the usual grease. While the cost per kilo is high, as a percentage of the products final cost is very small. Chaudhari is trying to play down the price factor. But with many food-processing units following the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) practice, the prospects for food-grade grease is good because most companies like to rule out the regular grease contamination hazard.

Now, FoodWorks is targeting the food and beverages, pharma and packaging units to push Megalube - a grease that is ideal in places where frequent steam-cleaning is required. It could also be used as a releasing agent on gaskets or seal on tank enclosures.

We havent done any market study on the products potential in India. We are currently importing the item based on our gut-feeling that food grade grease will gain market acceptance, says Chaudhari, trying to escape like a greased eel when quizzed about the volume FoodWorks imports and the amount it expects to earn from this activity.


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Now, taste the grease in your food