Balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten while inside the shell. They are common everyday food in some countries in Southeast Asia, such as in the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It is popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and is considered a high-protein, hearty snack.
Balut is mostly sold by street vendors.
Estimated Investment Cost (2009 prices)
a. Cost of Materials and Equipment
- Bamboo Basket – P 150
- Plastic Basket, 3 pcs @P20/pc – P60
- Coco cloth, 3 yards @P40/yard – P120
- Rice, 20 kg @P15/kg. – P300
- Subtotal P $30.00
b. Raw Materials
- Duck eggs, 100 pcs @ P6/pc – P600
Estimated Total Investment Cost – P 1,230
- Select eggs that are fit for incubation. Eggs should come from mated flocks, and be not more than five days old. They should have thick shells without any cracks.
- Preheat the selected eggs under the sun for 3-5 hours.
- Heat some unpolished rice in an iron cauldron or vat (large kettle) until it reaches a temperature of about 42 °C.
- Put 100 to 125 eggs into a large cloth made of either abaca (sinamay) or coco cloth.
- Place a layer of heated rice at the bottom of a cylindrical bamboo incubator basket (45 cm in diameter and 60 cm deep), and place a bag of eggs on the rice.
- Alternate the bags of eggs with the bags of heated rice. Eight bags of eggs will fit into the basket. Bamboo baskets can be arranged either in a single row along the wall of the balutan, or in double rows placed in the middle of the balutan. Rice hull is firmly tamped down between baskets as an insulator.
- Turn the eggs at least 2 or 3 times a day.
- Heat the rice in the morning and in the afternoon on cool days.
- Candle the eggs on the 7th, 14th and 18th day to select infertile eggs (i.e. dead embryo on first candling).
- The infertile eggs are removed, hard-boiled, and sold as a snack.
- The fertile ones, those containing a normal embryo candled on the 16th to 18th day should be hard boiled and sold as balut.
Numerous entrepreneurs have successfully adopted this technology. However, marketing aspects such as demand for the product, promotional activities and pricing need to be considered. The shelf life of balut is one day, but this may be extended to one week if the eggs are kept in a refrigerator.
Procedure for Small Scale Industry
- Prepare a big wooden box; line this with heated rice hull at the bottom about 6-8 inches thick.
- Arrange the eggs in bags of about 20-50 pieces each, put them on the heated hull and cover again with the same thickness of heated hull.
- Cover the box very well so as to prevent quick loss of heat.
- Every morning inspect the eggs to see if the rice hull needs reheating. The hull must be about 38 °C.
- On the third day, examine the eggs against a bright light to see if the germ plasm has developed. This is the part of the egg that becomes the chick if the egg is fertile. If no germ plasm develops remove these eggs. These are sold as penoy. Put back into the heated hull those eggs with germ plasm.
- On the 13th day examine again the egg against the light. Remove the eggs without germ pasm. At this stage, those with developing germ plasm are the “balut sa puti”.
- On the 17th day the chicks will be growing little feathers. These may now be cooked.
For Commercial Scale: The process is the same except that an incubator is used instead of heated rice hull.
Estimated Costing and Pricing (for 1 piece)
- Direct cost: P600+7.64 (100 eggs + labor) = P607.64
- Indirect cost: P0.10+0.34+60.76 (water + electricity + contingency) = P61.20
- Production cost: P607.64+61.20 (total direct cost + total indirect cost) = P668.84/100 eggs
Estimated production cost per egg – P6.68
Product pricing: P6.68+1.33 (production cost + 20% markup) = P8.01
Market price per piece = P8.00 to 10.00
Tip: The higher the volume of production per day ( more than 100 eggs) the lower the production cost, thus increasing the mark-up to more than 20%. If price per kilogram is lower compared with the existing market pries, increase mark-up to 20% or more.
- Business name registration (www.bnrs.dti.gov.ph)
- Mayor’s/Business Permit (check your local municipality/city)
- BIR TIN (www.bir.gov.ph)
- People’s Credit and Finance Corp (www.pcfc.gov.ph)
- Agricultural Credit Policy Council – DA (www.acpc.gov.ph)
- Other Financing Institutions (http://loans.mixph.com)