Jamaica Prepares for Food Expo March 14 in the UK


Against the background that the Jamaican products to have the greatest success in the UK market is food and drink, the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) continues to facilitate its local partners through a campaign tagged “Flavours of Jamaica”.
As local exporters prepare for the Food and Drink Expo, scheduled for Birmingham, UK, March 14 – 17, JAMPRO hosted a final seminar at its office in Kingston on Thursday to prepare its 16 exporters who is expected to add warmth and spice to the Expo.
According to Business Week, October 2003 “a wonderful culinary breeze has been blowing in from Jamaica. The depth of the Jamaican cuisine should be no surprise, given the tropical fruits, vegetables and spices that emerge from the Caribbean island’s rich volcanic soil. The result has enlivened restaurant menus and given Americans new seasonings to zest up ordinary meals.”
JAMPRO has support from the European Union’s Trade Development Project (TDP) and this has helped to develop and strengthen the brands and products under the theme “Flavours of Jamaica”.
Veniece Pottinger, JAMPRO’s Executive Director, Services in addressing the workshop said “FOJ is not just another marketing campaign, instead it is a plan which is geared at marketing a variety of Jamaican food and drink, beginning in the United Kingdom. We are excited about the prospects for exports going forward and the research has shown that there are several opportunities for the products, not just to penetrate, but to establish themselves.”
She added that although Jamaican exports have shown a slight decline to the UK, 2003 was promising with the total exports being valued at US$160M. “The message from that is there are now fantastic opportunities for niche marketing, and the FOJ campaign will address that need, ” she emphasized.
The programme is marketed and managed in the UK by International Marketing Consultants (IMC) – an independent communications agency with over two decades of experience working with Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies.
The Managing Director of IMC, Jeff Neilson was also present at the workshop and in his remarks he indicated that the FOJ can be successful because of certain trends in the UK market which included:
More “urban” public seeking new formats and added value foodsShift towards informal eating habitsConvenience foods/Ready Meals-Portable foodHandheld foodReduced preparation times3 substantial meals no longer the norm
A SWOT analysis done by the IMC has reported that the opportunities varied:
a) UK consumer is hungry for change and varietyb) Positive reactions to brands that were in a format which they understoodc) Fruit juices and snacks are of interest to consumers and are in line with areas of market growth
He added that Beverages presented another opportunity as:Within the pub and club business, there is a demand for new mixers and an opportunity to introduce Jamaican juices and carbonates which can mix with an established product- rumFruit-based and low sugar products with a healthy image look set for success in the children’s marketThe beverages stamp of approval must be clear to help is stand out in a cluttered marketplace

JIS Social