Today’s Jamaica Means Business
Flavours of Jamaica:
at the International Food and Drink Expo March 15 - 18 2009
his year the Excel ‘International Food & Drink Expo’ saw the quintessential best of Jamaican Cuisine out in force, delighting fellow exhibitors and visitors to the industry event of the year to the culinary delights of Jamaica. The popular Caribbean island is presently reveling in its recent Olympic glory - interest in all things Jamaican is on the rise. Exactly just what tantalizing ingredients the Jamaicans place on their palettes to produce such outstanding sportsmen and women has caught the attention of the world – and the pleasure of investigating, and sampling the Island’s cuisine was all mine, on behalf of Worldfood of course.
‘Flavours Of Jamaica’ invited along six major food producers from the Jamaican island to participate in the international event; some were newcomers to the convention, while others had attended the event numerous times but never with such a cohesive force as the Flavours of Jamaica initiative. ‘West Best Foods, Honey Bun, Suntrax Corporation, Central Food Packers ltd, Dalgety Foods, and Seprod’ – each at different stages of growth – some came specifically to promote their range of products to retailers, other to find distributors, while others, new to the food and catering industry, were concerned about discovering the styles of packaging the European consumers are more receptive to.
From its London based regional office the Government run Jamaica Trade & Invest organisation have been strategising on how to meet the demands and capitalise on this growing trend – how to provide authentic Jamaican food and drink products to the European market. This year at the Excel Food and Drink Expo – JT&I launched its ‘Flavours of Jamaica’ initiative, a scheme targeting major distributors and retail chains such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and Asda. JT&I’s European manager Laurance Jones says “Interest has never been higher, and, as a direct result, we are seeing steady growth in the sales of Jamaican products across Europe primarily because the average consumer is constantly looking for new taste experiences and Jamaican foods provide an exciting alternative to others from around the world. The Jamaican Trade and Invest organisation is aiming to strengthen its current European client base, consisting of the Diaspora community, but also to branch out and capture the attentions of a new audience, those amazed and spurred on by the recent sporting achievements.”
Today’s Jamaica Means Business
Suntrax Corporation Talk of all things ‘jerk’ was prominent at the ‘Flavours of Jamaica’ podium – apart from Dalgety Foods and Honey Bun ltd, most had a jerk sauce product they were promoting – though one, Suntrax, was promoting a Jamaican Jerk product with quite a difference. Jerk–aroni - the Jamaican addition to the world of Pizza toppings. Suntrax foods supplies primarily the catering and restaurant industry throughout the Caribbean, providing a range of convenient ready to eat Jerk dishes – Jerk pork, Jerk Chicken, Jerk Sausage and Jerk-orani - their latest addition to the line. Already available in a number of the major pizza establishments on the island, owner Fitz Jackson has also recently taken several orders to supply a number US based establishments and restaurant chains. “We have just got this product into some of the major pizza establishments in Jamaica – its totally different,” Jackson told Worldfood. “(I)t will eventually be available retail, but at present it’s the restaurant and pizza businesses we are targeting. We have developed a methodology using spices and herbs found only in the Caribbean, which offers an authentic Caribbean food experience. We are here at the Expo to find UK based distributors – we’re very optimistic that the UK population will enjoy our dishes.” Mr Jackson claimed Usain Bolt has Jerk-orani on his Pizza, suggesting perhaps this is his secret to sprinting success. Contact Suntrax: Suntrax Corporation Ltd Kingston www.tropicalchoice.net
lready an international name, Honey Bunâ€™s products are synonymous with quality and authentic Jamaican cuisine across the US, Caribbean and Europe. Honey Bun, producer of the Buccaneer Jamaica brand of Rum Fruit cakes, has over 20 years experience as a top quality producer of bakery, including donuts; snack cakes and buns. Honey Bun prides itself in sourcing and using the best quality ingredients in their products, and as a result has created a huge demand for their goods across the globe. Owner Michelle Chong based in Kingston started out running a small bakery in the capital of the island â€“ later setting up operation as a wholesale bakery, supplying her once local competition. After attending a New York food expo in 1996 the company was catapulted into the international arena. Their spiced bun is absolutely delicious - spread with a little butter and jam, alongside some Blue Mountain coffee and you have a Caribbean experience warm enough to brighten any dreary and wet London afternoon. Honey Bun products, including their Buccaneer range, can be found in many supermarkets across the UK. Contact Honey Bun 26 Retirement Crescent, Kingston 5, Jamaica www.honey-bun.com
wner Mark Dalgety brings you first rate 100% natural Herbal teas from produce grown all over the Caribbean; Peppermint, Honey and Ginger, the undeniably Caribbean Ginger-Mint, and the west Indian classic, Cerassie – a bitter tea drunken infrequently to cleanse the digestive system. Already distributing around the UK, Dalgety are perhaps setting the example to other Jamaican food producers in how to carve a space within the western markets - having already established a manufacturing base here in the UK, as wells as distribution and retails contracts with Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and numerous other high-street chains. With a range of nine teas produced from over 100 Caribbean farmers, manufactured here in the UK, Dalgety Foods have gone from strength to strength, and while initially being placed in the ‘ethnic’ section seemed a disservice to the product, owner Mark Dalgety say’s, he has since come to see this as a major benefit, allowing him the pleasure of avoiding the shelving competition in superstores with major ‘tea players’ such as Twinings.
“JT&I have been helping us to relocate our manufacturing base back in Jamaica – It’s great being in the UK, but there is also much scope for development in the Caribbean – we have established ourselves in the UK now, we just need to continue to keep our profile growing.” Dalgety’s growth in the European market is assured, the company have even managed to sell large quantities of their tea to China – an apparently impossible feat achieved by this once small time Jamaican tea grower. Other Products by Dalgety Foods include the complete nutritional ‘Noni Juice’, Irish Moss, Power Bitters and West Indian Hot Pepper Sauce. You can find Dalgety products in many supermarkets and shops. Contact Dalgety directly at: Dalgety Foods Ltd Units 3&4, New Lydenburg Commercial Estate New Lydenburg Street Charlton, London, SE7 8NK Tel: +44 (0) 20 8293 9300
A Taste of the Caribbean A Taste of the Caribbean enticed my taste buds with their exquisite Rum Fudge, their ‘Ole-Time’ Jamaican Mint Balls, originally made by Africans on the Islands Plantations, and their unique Chocolate Coated Coffee Beans along with an assortment of tropical flavored condiments. If you have a sweet tooth, these exotic flavors will certainly keep you hankering for more.
newcomer to the field of international cuisine A Taste of the Caribbean was invited to come along to the exhibition by JT&I to see just what type of competition the relatively new Jamaican food producer faces in the western food market. “Back home the type of packaging we use is fine, people are used to the Jamaican style, it doesn’t really effect their decision to buy a product or not, but I know that to make it into the international market I’ll need to rethink my branding. This was the main reason I decided to attend this year – to pick up some tips and go back with more insight.” Director Sonya Dunstan started out working in the booming Jamaican tourist industry, paying close attention to the
types of Jamaican products sought after by visitors to the island, especially the foods and tastes they enjoyed. Just over fives ago she decided to start her own business launching a number of products aimed specifically at the tourist market, and her Rum Fudge has sparked a riot in demand. A Taste of the Caribbean is aiming to have their Rum Fudge and a number of other products in UK stores by summer 2010. For More info contact: Sonya Dunstan 18 Cargill Avenue Kingston 10, Jamaica W.I. firstname.lastname@example.org
Todayâ€™s Jamaica Means Business HEAD OFFICE Jamaica Trade and Invest/JAMPRO, Head Office, 18 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica W.I. Phone: +1 876 978 7755; 978-3337, Toll Free: +1 877 INVESTJA (468 4352) , Fax: +1 876 946 0090, email: email@example.com MONTEGO BAY OFFICE Jamaica Trade and Invest/JAMPRO, UGI Building, 30 Market Street, 2nd Floor,, Montego Bay, St. James Jamaica W.I. Phone: +1 876 952 3420, Fax: +1 876 952 1384, email: firstname.lastname@example.org LONDON OFFICE JTI / Jamaica Trade Commission , 1 Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BZ, England Phone: + 44 20 7 584 8894 Fax: + 44 20 7 823 9886, email: email@example.com