Tony Ogaga, Lagos
Seasoned entrepreneur, Jim Omaraye has opened up on how his brainchild, Teruke Foods is introducing advanced technology in food processing in Nigeria. He made this known in an interview with Daily Sun in Lagos where he spoke on the economy and the need to look inwards.
What is Teruke Foods all about?
It is a brand of ready-to-eat soups made from the best ingredients sourced from traditional settings that bring back our natural taste of soups enjoyed by our forebears. Teruke soups are prepared with cow meat and smoked cat fish. They contain no preservatives, artificial flavors or sweeteners and are good for a healthy lifestyle. The natural flavors of our soups when served hot is reminiscent of the healthy lives our forebears lived. Prepared wholly from natural ingredients, our soups can be eaten with starch, eba, yam, amala, fufu, semovita, rice, etc. All you need to do is empty a can in a bowl and heat for two minutes and your food is ready. Our soups are predominantly cooked with only cow meat and smoked cat fish.
What inspired Teruke Foods?
I was home one evening and my kids and wife had gone to church and I was looking for what to eat. I found egusi soup in the refrigerator but I was yearning for ogbono soup but there was none and my family won’t return till late for my wife to prepare something. We had the ingredients at home but I am not a great cook. As I was thinking of what else to eat the idea popped in my head ‘wait a minute, I wish there was a can of prepared Ogbono soup I could just open now, warm it, make my eba and eat.’ That was the birth of Teruke Soups. How many people have found themselves in similar situation that I just described above? Teruke Foods save you the time spent in cooking. Our soups are prepared by seasoned cooks who understand the nature of our traditional soups the way our mothers and grandmothers prepared them. With our busy schedule and the demands of work, sometimes it could be difficult for us to find time to cook delicious meals for our families. Teruke International understand this, hence we are providing our numerous customers with a variety of high valued ready-to-eat soups that are naturally prepared with 100 percent organic materials under the most hygienic environment.
What challenges did you face setting up food processing factory in Nigeria?
This is the first-of-its-kind in this part of the world. There was no predecessor from whom to learn the tricks of the business. One of our challenges was the procurement of the right packaging material that would be safe, healthy and yet preserve the soups. We did several studies and settled for using metal cans after we sent our cans to several laboratories and the cans are deemed safe for packing these types of soups. Our cans are validated by the FDA, a food regulatory agency in the US. Another challenge we faced was the preservation of the soup. All our soups have zero preservatives. People have asked the question ‘how did we achieve this?’ We employ a technology that exposes the soups to high temperature and pressure which kills all the microbes making Teruke soups healthier than what you eat in restaurants. As long as the integrity of the can is not compromised, the soup will remain fresh for years. One reasons our cost of production is high is that our cans are imported as we could not find any indigenous company in Nigeria to produce them. At Teruke International, we do not comprise the safety of our consumers.
Who is the target market?
Busy moms and dads, students, bachelors, business executives and families including those outside the shores of Nigeria. Instead of facing the embarrassment of carrying ingredients that smell all over the airport as you travel, you could just grab cans of Teruke soups and you are good! These soups are in most parts of the world at the moment and we are also calling on distributors within and outside Nigeria to ensure that we have them everywhere as Nigerians travel a lot and are in every corners of the earth.
How many varieties of Teruke Foods do we have and how old is the company?
We have Egusi Soup, Vegetable Soup, Ogbono Soup, Pepper Soups and Stew all prepared with cow meat and smoked cat fish. The company was established in 2017 but only launched our products into the markets on July 7, 2019. All our soups are approved by NAFDAC. We make sure that the soups are of high quality and standard.
How can Nigerian economy benefit from an initiative like this?
We spend an average of N30,000 on diesel every day and the roads are bad. It is expensive to do business in Nigeria but my primary motive is to set up this business here in my native land in order to help in developing the economy by generating employment. In fact, the opportunities Teruke Foods offer Nigerian businessman are awesome and we are looking for investors too. I could have established this business in the United States where we will get all the support and amenities along with greater return on investment but I have a great love for my country, Nigeria.