Brand Jamaica was once again on display, as a wide selection of local foods were well represented by several companies at the recently held Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) 2010 trade show in Toronto.
The Jamaican booth, coordinated by JAMPRO featured delectable items from baked goods, tea and coffee, to sauces and spices.
JAMPRO’s Vice-President for Trade and Business Development, Ms. Delaine Morgan, noted that while exporters have placed much of their focus on the United States, there is growing interest in the Canadian market.
“Canada is a thriving market for Jamaican exporters with penetration opportunities not only for our well-established brands, which are doing well and experiencing significant growth but also for our smaller exporters, including producers of sauces, spices, food items, beverages and fresh produce, who are well poised to take advantage of niche opportunities in the market,” said Ms. Morgan.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan (3rd right), visited the Jamaica booth at the at the Grocery Innovations Canada trade show, held recently in Toronto. From left are: Paul Lewis of BnRs Holdings; JAMPRO’s Andrea Reid and Senior Consulting Officer, Nardia McKenzie; Managing Director of Perishables Jamaica, Norman Wright; JAMPRO’s Vice-President for Trade and Business Development, Delaine Morgan; JAMPRO’s North American Manager, Robert Kerr; and Canadian distributor for Jablum Blue Mountain Coffee, Hal Campbell.
The companies represented at the show included Caribbean Foods Limited, which manufacturers Foska Oats; Kountry Delite and Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk, makers of condiments and spices; Perishables Jamaica, which produces 16 flavours of teas; Tijule, which processes frozen, canned, bottled and baked products under the labels, Juliana and Nel’s Old Time; Sue Tru Caribbean, a two-year-old company, which manufactures condiments and sauces; and Jablum Blue Mountain coffee.
The creative display of the booth was only matched by the imaginative and clever blend of fruits, herbs and spices, to create products such as Spicy Mango Pineapple Sauce, Crushed Scotch Bonnet Pepper with Pineapple Juice, and Passion Fruit Jerk Marinade. Others had interesting names such as Hurricane Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce, Malicious Hot Pepper Sauce, Chaos Jerk Seasoning, and Red Pepper Mash. There were also Sorrel with Ginger, Cinnamint, Pimento, Cullenmint, and Sarsaparilla teas.
Managing Director of Perishables Jamaica, Mr. Norman Wright, said his company was excited to take part in the trade show with JAMPRO. “We need to focus more on exports. Canada is our primary export market and it has great growth potential,” he said, noting that some of the teas have crossed over into mainstream supermarkets, which are located in areas with large West Indian communities in Toronto.
He said the event also helped to increase awareness, noted that many persons, who visited the booth, were surprised to learn that a Jamaican company was producing so many flavours of teas.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan commended JAMPRO and the Jamaican exporters for showcasing some of the best of what the island has to offer. He noted that the potential for increased exports from Jamaica to Canada is enormous and encouraged the companies to find ways of capitalising on the opportunity.
“Small export companies can better take advantage of the market here by mutually establishing their own import warehouse here in Toronto from which they can jointly market their products to outlets here,” said Mr. Ramocan.
The “economies of scale and shared cost in such a venture would make this expansive approach to export affordable,” he added.
Jamaica’s presence at the Grocery Innovations show provided local exporters with the opportunity to engage many of Canada’s top brokers and distributors and forge new and exciting business partnerships.
Grocery Innovations Canada is organised annually by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) and is open to wholesalers, retailers, distributors, and exporters.