Visit to Maiyas food factory - Report by Surabhi Shastry
May 3rd, the ninth day of our exciting journey with the Bangalore Science Forum was yet another enlightening day for all of us. We visited the Maiyas food factory located on Kanakapura Road. It was indeed an enriching opportunity because it is not everyday that we get a glimpse of the behind the scenes view of the hardwork that is put into serving traditional food at its purest and most sumptuous form.
Maiyas is a family business that runs on pure passion for good food. It is the vision of Dr. P. Sadananda Maiya, a pioneer in the Indian food industry.
The day began with excitement and enthusiasm. We reported at the factory at 9:30. Parents, who also were keen to explore the factory had accompanied their kids. We were given warm greetings by the senior employees of the factory who were there to give us a complete tour of the factory. After being divided into three groups, we were given instructions on the strict rules and regulations to be followed to maintain perfect hygiene. We were given masks, covers for our head and footwear to prevent our hair, bacteria and dust from contaminating the food.
The factory is ISO certified and therefore their production process is highly clean and sophisticated. Their excellent food products create demand from all over the world and therefore they export them to all corners of the world including USA, Japan, Australia, Singapore to name a few.
The range of products include beverages, frozen food, sweets, savouries, masalas, pickles, ready to eat and instant mixes.We were first taken to the savoury food production area. As we walked through the corridor we could smell the sharp, spicy aroma of rich blended spices that tingled our olfactory senses. Our guide showed us the massive fryers which made our beloved crunchy everyday snacks like murukku, kodubale and bhakarwadi. The machines carried out all processes- from shaping the dough to evenly placing them on the conveyor belt, to frying them and cooling them. They fried it at the perfect temperature to let the oil seep through and crisp up the snack just right. In addition to using cholesterol-free oil to prepare products, their innovative technology extracts at least 30 per cent of the oil from the final product making it a healthier option
The spices were stored in a lower floor and were brought up through a vacuum geyser. Depending on whether the mixture had to be pure or blended, required amounts of ingredients were extracted and transported to a storage machine. These spices were then passed through a pin mill which made the mixture coarse. The resulting mixture was then passed through a roller mill to make it fine. The powder was ground according to the food it would be incorporated in. The powder was then thoroughly mixed and later taken for packaging. The special thing about the production was that they made it in such a way that moisture was completely evaporated from the spices so as to preserve them for a longer period of time.Maiyas asserts that one must know the exact proportion, quality and purity of each ingredient, and adjust these proportions accordingly so as to ensure consistent quality. Even the preparation of the ingredients makes a difference.The vibrant hue and the whiff of these spices was a treat.
Packaging involved two types of machines. One, the FFS(form fill seal) machine which filled food into a roll of packing material and then was sealed at intervals to make a series of adjoining packets. The other one was the PSF(Pouch Fill Seal) machine. Individual packets were opened, filled and sealed by this machine. It was a very knowledgeable experience to watch how our everyday snacks packets were made. A very distinct observation we made was that the hygiene was maintained every step of the way. It assured us of the safety of the food that we eat. Food is truly made with love in this food haven.
The instant food division consisted of 1 minute express rasam powder blocks which came in three flavours. All you needed to do was put it in boiling water and it would turn into the tasty rasam we all love. The bhel bars and fruit bars were also manufactured there. All these were made in such a way that they could be preserved for a long time.
The sweets manufactured include soan-papdi and jamun, two mouth-watering sweets made from the best of the best ingredients that Maiyas handpicked for these delicacies loved by all. Soan papdi is made from two core ingredients- sugar candy and gram flour mixture. They are vigorously stretched until fine threads arise. Jamun is made from scratch and canned.
Milk beverages are also made here using purified, lab tested and approved milk. They are canned and placed in retorts. This heats them to kill all the harmful microbes. The specific processes are heating, preheating, cooling and killing.
Frozen foods are the most exported. They have all kinds of traditional, Indian, homely food which are packed in such a way that they can last for upto two years. The food is passed through spiral freezers which can go down to a temperature of -35 degree Celsius. The frozen food is then stored in a storage unit with a very low temperature.
The main warehouse was completely packed with crates of packed food ready to be shipped.
We were then taken to the laboratory which was also where all the research and development took place. This was the place where every single raw material and product was tested for regulative values. If the product did not meet all the requirements, the product was either held or rejected and discarded. Intensive research goes in to making the product so that it reaches us fresh every time, with the aid of world-class technology.
Next, we were escorted to much awaited part of the day- lunch at the one and only Maiyas factory. Food for the employees was served everyday and on this day, we were given the privilege of tasting original Maiyas freshly prepared food. Food was traditional, sumptuous, fragrant and wholesome.
All in all this was an eye opener to the world of food production where they use technology optimally at every juncture of food production to bring alive the authentic traditional taste, with faster turnarounds.