Shawn Santos, FOG Safe’s Inventor and Owner, was recently interviewed by Pacific Business News, New invention fights clogged drains and ‘fatbergs’. The interview went behind-the-scenes on how the FOG Safe Drain Guard came to be and what the future looks like for the company.
Inventing the FOG Safe Drain Guard
The idea for FOG Safe, started the way many inventions do—a personal need for the product and a gap in the current marketplace. In the instance of FOG Safe, Shawn Santos, an owner and self-manager of rental properties in Hawaii, came face-to-face with a kitchen drain so clogged with cooking grease that it took almost an hour to clear. What Shawn found was that grease had been disposed of improperly for years and eventually packed the pipe so solid that it was no longer able to drain at all.
“I just got so frustrated with it, and the common problem was always grease-filled drains,” he said. “As much as I tried to encourage my tenants to stop throwing grease down the drain, it kept recurring.
With twenty-years of experience as a contractor, this was not the first time he had encountered this problem. However, this time was different, he knew there had to be a better and safer way to dispose of kitchen grease and sat down and sketched out a product design idea.
The FOG Safe Drain Guard is designed to fit into a standard kitchen sink drain, it is made of eco-friendly recycled materials that quickly absorb the cooking fats, oils and grease (FOG) that is poured into it. Once the FOG is absorbed, you simply throw the entire drain guard into the trash.
“After developing the product — which Santos said he did with help from Collin Kobayashi at 3D Innovations — he worked on manufacturing, prototyping and packaging, and officially launched FOG Safe LLC in July of 2018.” Now, the FOG Safe Drain Guard can be found in about 50 retailers throughout Hawaii, including: Times Supermarkets, City Mill, Simply Organized, Hardware Hawaii, KTA Super Stores, Purchasing Hui of Hawaii, Big Save Markets and Hawaii based NEX Navy Exchanges.
“Don’t Feed the Fatberg”
The term ‘fatberg’ was originally coined by Thames Water and references an iceberg of fat. Fatbergs are found in sewers and are made up of a congealed, solid mass of fats, oils and grease (FOG), that have been poured down kitchen sinks, as well as non-biodegradable material that is flushed down the toilet, such as wet wipes.
Fatbergs offer a glimpse into our modern-day consumer driven society—albeit the darker side of modern life. These oily monsters are growing right beneath our feet and clogging sewers around the world. As the fatberg epidemic continues to grow in cities around the world, FOG Safe aims to help educate people about the environmental damage that occurs when FOG is improperly rinsed down the kitchen sink drain.
The Future of FOG Safe
While FOG Safe Drain Guards are designed for home cooking and frying, Santos said he’s in the process of creating a larger capacity container for individual deep-frying, as well as smaller commercial kitchens like food trucks.
Santos also aims to grow the brand’s reach, and he’s recently made a big stride to that end: Last week, the FOG Safe Drain Guard was selected as a featured item on product discovery website The Grommet, which highlights new inventions and has helped launch products like Fitbit and OtterBox. According to its website, The Grommet only accepts 3% of submissions.
[Pacific Business News]: What are your expansion plans? We’ve been working on a few things. We did a show in Chicago that we had a good response from, and there are a handful of retailers that we have stayed in touch with — The Grommet being one of them. We’re trying to get into bigger retailers, big-box type of stores, and more direct sales. Our next step is to take what we’ve learned here in Hawaii and promote it nationally. We’ve been getting some momentum — we get emails from Canada and the UK and Australia consistently asking where this product is sold.
Hawaii has really been a test market. The challenge of trying to create a global product here is that Hawaii is restricted geographically, but that also allows us to test the product in a controlled consumer base so that we can fix things and get feedback from consumers.
FOG Safe Drain Guards were originally developed for those cooking at home, however as the company has grown so has the customer base. FOG Safe is in a great position to meet the needs of home cooks, property managers, government agencies focused on water treatment, along with the camping and RV market.
For FOG Safe, the future is bright.
Interested in learning more about the FOG Safe Drain Guard or working with us? Send Shawn Santos an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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