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Bapak announces new cooking oil product

Local manufacturer Bapak has invest$85,000 in equipment to become the country’s first bottler of cooking oil.

The new cooking oil, to be marketed under the name”Soya”is one of several measures the light manufacturer told Guardian Business that it has to take to remain competitive, as economic conditions and the loss of bottling revenue challenge the company’s success.

“Hopefully, it will keep us alive,”Glen Rogers, President of Bahamas Food Packaging Ltd.(Bapak)toldGuardian Businessin a recent interview, speaking about the new Soya oil product. He said that the product should be available to the public the first week of January.

“Our oil will probably sell for less[than imported oil],”Rogers said. He added that particularly with smaller purchase sizes, such as the 16 ounce size, his company should be very competitive. Prices of imported oil at that size were much higher than he believed they needed to be, creating an opportunity for Bapak,”according to Rogers.

The unpackaged soybean oil Bapak will use in its products is coming in from Zeeland Farms in Minnesota, USA.

Rogers said that since the leading local water manufacturers started making their own water containers, demand had dropped significantly for Bapak’s bottles. The result is that his company had to go into water production”for survival”about a year ago, according to the company’s president. Bapak produces water under the Ultra Pure label.

The onset of winter, however, has resulted in at least a 50%drop-off in water sales, according to Rogers. He said the water business is seasonal, with higher sales in the hot summer months. His company’s response has been to improve the marketing of the product by offering a full-service drive through about three months ago, allowing for customers to remain in their vehicles through the entire sales process. Rogers said he is hoping the service, especially in the cold weather, will result in more sales.

He noted that the key to having a more productive manufacturing segment is more direct attention from the government. Rogers said that light manufacturers are focused on their main operations, but a dedicated person who would regularly visit companies like his, to understand and channel their issues back to the relevant government agencies, would really help them all.

Bapak produces bottles, Bahamian food products under the Conchy Joe’s brand, and various cleaners and chemicals, such as the Junkanoo brand all purpose cleaner. It is located in the Soldier Road Industrial Park, Nassau, and has been in operation since 1976. Roger says the company employs 65 to 70 people.

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