JIS News

Jamaica had a successful showing at the just concluded International Food and Drink Event (IFE) in London, with manufacturers and exporters meeting and booking orders with European distributors.
“All the exporters (from Jamaica) had meetings with potential distributors and in some cases have had orders. There has been a positive response from consumers. All the exporters have had good meetings,” said Export Promotion Manager at Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), Berletta Forrester.
The four-day event, held from March 15 to 18, attracted more then 1,200 exhibitors from more than 40 countries across the world. The ‘Flavours of Jamaica’ booth, mounted by JTI, featured an array of Jamaican foods, drinks, teas, and condiments, including jerk sauces, jams, jellies and spreads; canned products and juices, breads, buns, and Blue Mountain Coffee.
The exhibitors were: Taste of the Caribbean; Honeybun; West Best Foods Limited; Central Food Packers Limited; Seprod Limited; Suntrax Corporation; and Dalgety Foods.
Jamaica’s stand, which featured live cooking demonstrations by Chef Colin Brown, and offered a wide array of food samples, was very popular with show goers and other exhibitors.
Held every two years, the IFE is one of the largest international food and drink trade shows in Europe.
According to Ms. Forrester, exporters have always found the show to be beneficial. “This year, in particular, we think it is even more critical that we have a good showing in Europe, within the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), because it will be opening up new opportunities to bring more products and service into (Europe) duty free. So we are aiming to make good use of and take advantage of promotional activities like the IFE,” she told JIS News.
She said the aim was to get the attention of the buyers, importers, and distributors, as well as consumers.
“We are looking for the buyer, the importer, the distributor, the retailers, who are looking for a new product, looking to see what else Jamaica has to offer. Then we are looking for the consumers, who come in, primarily, to taste and then to ask ‘where can we buy the products’. So we are trying to get the buyer, who will ultimately sign a supply contract with our exporters and also trying to get the consumer, who will create the demand for the product,” she outlined.
Managing Director of Taste of the Caribbean, Sanya Dunstan, told JIS News that participation at this year’s IFE allowed her to observe market trends and make contacts, which could translate into orders.
“I was there because I wanted the exposure, and I wanted to know what the trends were in the market and establish myself as an exporter. There was a lot of interest and it has been useful, especially to see what the competition is like, and how we need to focus ourselves,” she stated.
Managing Director of West Best Foods Limited, Andrew Morales, who was attending the IFE for the third time, said that the event was a good place to get new ideas and see what new technology was available to the sector.
“We are here not so much for new customers but to have our presence felt, and at the same time, see how we can get new ideas to take back home. My focus is on export, and if you are going that route, you have to keep abreast of all the new ways of doing things,” he told JIS News.
In the meantime, Simone Smith of Honey Bun Limited, said there was a lot of interest in the company’s spiced Easter buns. “It’s been very good coming to the show and promoting our products. We have had a lot of interest from people to distribute it and wanting to buy it. It’s been really good for us,” she stated.

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