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LOCAL ROOTS IMAGE, AN ABSTRACT GLOBAL IDENTITY WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI

The GraceKennedy brand is one which considers itself synonymous with the Caribbean and is proud of the roots culture which still lies at the heart of the business. The company’s food and beverage manufacturing subsidiary, GraceKennedy Foods, has combined a love and passion for Caribbean cuisine, cheap, mass food production capabilities and a global footprint to achieve its mission statement of satisfying the unmet needs of Caribbean people wherever they live in the world. Today GraceKennedy Foods brings a taste of the Caribbean to people in every part of the world, and is still riding a wave of high growth which continues to lead the business into an ever increasing number of food and beverage markets in an increasing list of countries. Endeavour Magazine found out more about the GraceKennedy success story.


GK FOODS

GraceKennedy is a name which is very well known and either much loved or much regarded across the Caribbean, in particular the GraceKennedy Foods division of the business and its best-selling brands of manufactured food and beverages.

Quote

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his brand, which is also

sporting events; activity which no

well recognised outside

doubt helps give GraceKennedy

of the Caribbean among

credibility as a business which is

Jamaican expatriate communities

loyal to its local roots, something

across the globe, is a subsidiary

which

part of GraceKennedy Limited, a

certainly never compromise in its

multi-billion USD Jamaica-based

desire to become an established

conglomerate with numerous

name in global business.

financial sector, food and retail

the

However

company

in

would

contrast

to

subsidiaries and interests within

GraceKennedy’s success story

its portfolio. In addition to this

today, the company’s birth as

business activity, GraceKennedy

Grace, Kennedy & Company

is also active in the running of

Limited,

in

February

1922

philanthropic foundations which

was altogether more humble.

have provided support to the

Founded by Dr. John J. Grace

poor and disenfranchised in the

and Mr. Fred William Kennedy,

Caribbean region, as well as

Grace, Kennedy & Company

the sponsorship of high profile

Limited initially started life as a


general mercantile and commercial business which traded in a diverse range of products, ranging from food stuffs, coffee, hides and soaps to name but a few. During its early history, the business faced much in the way of adversity, as a result of events like the Great Depression, the sudden of imposition of trade restrictions with Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and the loss of European markets following the outbreak of World War II. In spite of such challenges, the company maintained steady growth throughout this period and by the 1950’s was enjoying sales of over £1 million. An explosive period of meteoric growth during the 1960’s and 1970’s, thanks to the considerable expansion and diversification of business activities, as well as the addition of numerous acquisitions to the Grace, Kennedy & Company Limited portfolio, saw annual turnover surpass the $1.5 billion mark by 1980, a trend which continued throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s. Today the company is valued at $30.6 billion in terms of shareholder equity and over $100 billion in terms of its total global assets; which all in all is not bad for a business which proudly boasts the dubiously named cock soup amongst its vast selection of products and services. Through the utilisation of its parent company’s global reach and extensive resources, GraceKennedy Foods has shown an unerring commitment towards the expansion and diversification of its food


GK FOODS

and beverage manufacturing operations. As a result of this, the

easy in the knowledge that

to continue the rapid upward

GraceKennedy Foods division has successfully penetrated the

profit margins will improve, as

thrust of its food division, in

food and beverage markets of dozens of countries across the globe

will their long-term employment

line with GraceKennedy’s other

and today enjoys a reputation as one of the leading providers of

prospects.

expanding business subsidiaries

Caribbean ethnic foodstuffs in every corner of the world. In particular,

In light of the division’s rip

GraceKennedy Foods has thrived in countries such as the UK,

roaring success in recent years,

like its business and banking

Canada and US which have societies that are something of a multi-

GraceKennedy Food intends to

The company has provided

cultural melting pot and a home away from home for large Caribbean

continue its adherence to this

a blueprint for success that

expatriate communities.

long-term 2020 Strategy, and

many in the business community

This aggressive strategy of foreign market penetration follows

will continue to push boundaries

would do well to follow, and truly

the implementation of the ‘2020 Vision’ strategy in 2010, which

and expand horizons as it strives

shows what can be achieved with

segments.

was intended to “transform GraceKennedy from a Jamaican trading company to a global consumer group with our roots in Jamaica” according to company President Lucky Lankage. GraceKennedy has undeniably demonstrated its unwavering loyalty to its island roots, a point proven by the fact that less than 50% of the food sold under the Grace brand is now manufactured in Jamaican factories. And with GraceKennedy planning to push its range of food and beverage products into the fast growing Far-Eastern markets as well as an unspecified portion of its manufacturing processes, the company’s Jamaican based staff and agricultural suppliers will no doubt rest

GK Foods has provided a blueprint for success that many in the business community would do well to follow


dynamic leadership, innovative business practices and $30 billion in the bank. The proof is in the pudding; it is the reason that consumers on every continent from the Americas to Europe, Africa to Asia will soon be able to sample the pleasures of the finest Caribbean cuisine, exports such as Grace coconut water, ginger beer, kidney beans, sardines and of course cock soup. Delicious cock soup. GraceKennedy is one of the largest single-entity food manufacturers in the Caribbean. Over 50 per cent of the food sold under the Grace brand is manufactured in one of our four ISO and HAACP certified factories in Jamaica. For example, the highly successful Grace Tropical Rhythms line was developed at Grace Food Processors (Canning) and continues to be manufactured there. The inimitable Grace Cock Soup, a range of packaged soups, and our new range of Grace Instant Porridges is manufactured at our subsidiary, National Processors (NALPRO) in Temple Hall, Jamaica; while the Grace Hams and Grace Vienna Sausages are processed at Grace Food Processors our meat processing plant in Savanna la Mar, Jamaica. Dairy products such as Tastee Cheese and the popular This is Really Great Yoghurt are manufactured in Jamaica at Dairy Industries Jamaica Limited, a joint venture between GraceKennedy and Fonterra, New Zealand.

Consumers on every continent from the Americas to Europe, Africa to Asia will soon be able to sample the pleasures of the finest Caribbean cuisine.


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