The Department of Fisheries is going to introduce kitchen-ready hilsa soup and hilsa noodles at the market by January next year so that people can get the taste of the popular fish round the year at affordable prices.
A private company, Virgo Fish & Agro Process Ltd, would produce and market the food items as per the methods invented by the researchers of Bangladesh Agricultural University and Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute under the supervision of the DoF.
In 2016, under a project named Enhanced Coastal Fisheries in Bangladesh (ECOFISH-BD), the DoF took initiatives to produce value-added products from hilsa and after a long research a BAU professor invented the two products.
‘The methods for producing hilsa soup and noodles have already been finalised by BAU professor Nowsad Alam and his team and we are expecting the products would hit the market by January 2018,’ ASM Rashedul Haque, project director of the ECOFISH-BD, told New Age on Thursday.
He said that after inventing the hilsa soup and noodles under the financial support from ECOFISH-BD, the DoF signed a memorandum of understanding with Virgo Fish & Agro Process Ltd to produce and market the products.
Rashedul said that the DoF at a recent meeting had decided to get some reviews including proximate composition, amino acid profile and lipid profile of the samples of soup and noodles conducted by the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Before handing over the technology to Virgo Fish & Agro Process Ltd, the reviews would be completed by December 30, he said.
According to the decision, the department would hold an awareness meeting with university teachers, senior citizens and managers of all chain superstores like Agora, Shwapno and Meena Bazaar on the products in the first week of January to ensure smooth marketing.
Finally, the department would organise a press conference in the second week of January to introduce the products to the mass people and after that the technology would be handed over to Virgo Fish & Agro Process Ltd.
Jamil Ahmed, executive director of Virgo Fish & Agro Process Ltd, said that their preparations for producing and marketing hilsa soup and noodles were at the last stage.
‘We have provided required training to our workforce and hopefully the products would be launched late January next year,’ he said.
In reply to a question, Jamil said that he was doubtful about the export potential of the hilsa soup and noodles as the products would be storable only for three months.
Nowsad Alam, however, said that the products could be lucrative for all types of consumers in home and abroad as hilsa is one of the favourite fish across the world.
Hilsa soup and noodles are developed in both powder and cube formats keeping the original taste and flavour of the fish intact, he said.
Nowsad, a professor of fisheries technology at the BAU, said that the food items would be storable for four months and the company, which is going to produce the items commercially, would be able to export the products easily.
‘As per our laboratory analysis, the cost for one serving of soup or noodles is Tk 20 only and it should come down to Tk 16-17 in the commercial production,’ he added.