5 May 2012 by Kavitha Srinivasa
For the uninitiated, an eccentric vibrating mill is nothing but a sophisticated pounding mill, indigenously engineered by Maiya. "In India, spices are pound through the flour mill, hammer mill, cryogenic grinding mill and pounding mill. Though mechanized, the mills generate heat of over 45 degrees. It results in flavour loss, which range between 7% and 40%," said Maiya, throwing light on its limitations. The thought left behind a bitter aftertaste.
The food technologist had already positioned himself as a forerunner in branded packaged foods. A case in point is his Retort pouched ready to eat food products. He was one of the early proponents of the retort pouch technology developed by Defence Food Research Laboratory, Mysore during the Eighties.
This time, he smelt another opportunity. It occurred to him that the existing pound mill could be reinvented for flavour retention. Researched over one-and-a half years, Maiya tweaked experiments till he achieved optimum result. Being an electrical engineer, he chose eccentric rods and adopted a closed chamber principle for execution. Already a pilot run at his Maiya's restaurant proved that spices used for rasam powder and sambar powder retains flavour.
The entrepreneur chose to call the product as an eccentric vibrating mill - an engineering term - which implies that the rods don't move in a uniform direction. Vibrating mills are suited for combined grinding and mixing, and for mixing. Any material consisting of different components can be efficiently reduced and thoroughly mixed in one operation.
Made of hardened steel, the eccentric vibrating mill looks like a motor. Maiya scouted round till he found a company in Pune to customize the hi-tech machine. This machine will be installed at his state-of-the art manufacturing facility spread across 22-acres in the outskirts of Bangalore. The facility will comply with HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) norms of the British Institution of Standards.
From June, the facility will produce sachets of spice blends on a commercial scale, retailed in the domestic and international markets. His company, Maiyas Beverages & Foods Pvt Ltd is all set to take things forward. "The process retains the sharp freshness of the flavour. Being automated, it ensures 100% efficiency. All ingredients retain a uniform texture throughout. This has probably not been attempted before in India," said Maiya, director, Maiyas Beverages & Foods Pvt Ltd.
It's clearly a pet project and given the scale of operations, it's no surprise that Maiya is now a very hands-on boss. A visit to the factory tops his agenda, as he supervises the machine, to make sure the process is automated to perfection. The eccentric mill, which costs Rs 1.2 crore, has a 20-ton capacity. It is intended to run the machine twice a day to produce 40 tons of spice, which will reach out to the national and international markets through a distribution network.
Over the years, the 62-year-old has earned several culinary accolades including a Life Time Achievement Award from the All India Food Processors' Association. All along, his focus has never shifted from using cost effective, innovative, integrated bio friendly technology. This philosophy is reflected in his portfolio of offerings, created through a scientific approach and in an automated form unlike other players in the segment.
Such expertise could be attributed to the practical exposure he got during his growing years. His forefathers established the legendary Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) restaurant in Bangalore in 1924. Food was a way of life, as Maiya watched his family earn their proverbial daily bread by creating authentic south Indian dishes. Food remained a mainstay, as Maiya absorbed the flavours of conventional Indian cooking styles. However, he chartered a different course and groomed into a food technologist. With time, he learnt to sift the best cooking technique as he made well-informed decisions when he moved out of the family business.
Maiya may have been born into a family-run restaurant business, but he is also self-made, so it gives an interesting perspective of his wealth and persona. Now here's some food for thought.
Posted By: Kavitha Srinivasa @ 05 May 2012 02:12 PM General
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