By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
For years, foreign brands of packaged ketchup and hot sauce have been dominating Guyana’s markets. But one local manufacturing firm, Umami Inc. — which already has more than eight successful products under its belt — is determined to change this dynamic with the launch of its very own packaged hot sauce and ketchup which are made from vegetables specially grown in Guyana’s rich soils.
Speaking to Guyana Standard on this wonderful development was Umami’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chris Persaud. The avid supporter of all things local says he sees his company as more than a manufacturing firm.
“We like to think as ourselves as guardians of the Guyanese galaxy when it comes to agro-processed, value-added products. Guardians in the sense that we feel once we can produce the best products, made in Guyana, then before any import can threaten our industry, they will have a difficult time to pass us,” an impassioned Persaud stated.
When UMAMI was birthed in 2013, the manufacturer said that the company’s vision ensured that its innovation within the Guyanese industry would always be embraced through the available technology and technical expertise. As such, Persaud said he saw an opening for single-serve condiments due to the explosion of franchised and domestic eating houses.
The CEO said that this explosion, of course, is hinged on the incoming prosperity promised through the growing oil and gas industry. With the massive influx of individuals from the Guyanese Diaspora and expats expected in the country, Persaud said that standards must be lifted as expectations will be higher. And before his firm launched the sachets, Persaud said customers were limited to two options, condiments in a knotted plastic bag or the evil import.
Persaud said he chose to be part of the solution by investing in the technology which gives valued Guyanese customers locally made single serve condiments that enhance their own local initiatives.
As with all great ideas, Persaud said he and his UMAMI partners have sprinted from the starting line with motivation and passion to do something great for the country. The technology is new, he said, and is now being adjusted by UMAMI’s in house team to get it perfect. It is a work in progress, he added.
Further to this, Persaud was quick to point out that the intensive training of his staff and superior demands from customers continue to drive him further. At present, he said that the sachets are offered by both domestic and international fast food and Creole restaurants.
Since being introduced to the market a few months now, Persaud shared that the support has been fantastic. He and his team are trying to keep up with the overwhelming demand and encourage all Guyanese to be supportive of their own.