By Maore Ithula
Our invention revolutionises the habit of chewing the stimulant, making it easier, hygienic and user friendly.
Knowing that many consumers of miraa are Muslims, we deliberately made the miraa chewing gum halal by replacing gelatin, in its formulation, with gum Arabica.
In the Islamic faith, gelatin, which maintains the soft texture in every chewing, is haram because it is derived from pork.
Whereas this invention does not seek to replace the habit of chewing raw khat in its entirety, it makes the luxurious pastime less laborious and the product cheaper and easier to handle and preserve.
The invention also standardises the miraa product, making its pricing easier and convenient for traders and retailers to dispense.
Further, the invention guarantees traceability of miraa to the farm.
Traceability of agricultural products to the farm is a compulsory requirement for miraa to reenter the European market.
The new chewing gum enters the markets in sticks the size of the conventional BigG, each with an average weight of five grams.
The stimulating refreshment retails in sachets each containing eight sticks of five grams each.
A carton of the product contains 60 sachets going for Ksh2,800.
The minimum recommended retail price per sachet is Ksh70.
As we roll out the chewing gum into the market, for now consumers and retailers can place direct orders with us at ex-factory prices on Tel 0720319565.
The minimum order is one carton to be delivered toll-free. Estimated time of delivery for Nairobi and its environs is 24 hours and 48 hours elsewhere.
The ingredients of the chewing gum include gum base, oils, sugars, khat, gum Arabica and aspartame.
We invented the refreshing confectionery from miraa in 2017, at the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (Kirdi), where the project is still incubated.
As we tinkered with the idea of developing a value added miraa product, luck beckoned at us and summarily, the conception of the miraa chewing gave way to a triplet innovation, whose sister products became a miraa- based fudge and a toffee, all three are patented as one invention (KE/P/2017/2633).
The refreshment now enters the market in the brand name Marqan, which was also trademarked in 2017.
In Somali language, ‘Marqan’ means ‘adasi’ or the stimulating effect consumers get from chewing miraa.
The miraa chewing gum takes the form and shape of the popular BigG chewing gum from Wrigley International for good reasons.
Our invention borrows substantial technology from CAFOSA of Spain, which is a sister company of Wrigley. CAFOSA makes gum base for Wrigley.
CAFOSA supplies us with free gum base and bears the cost of its shipment from Barcelona to Nairobi to reduce the burden of the expensive and time consuming research.
The Spanish firm is a vital collaborator from whom we continue getting priceless technical support