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Story Highlights

  • The Scientific Research Council (SRC) is partnering with food manufacturing giant, Grace Kennedy on the development of new food items from local agricultural produce.
  • Dr. Riley indicated that by the end of this year or the end of the new financial year, “we should be able to have products coming from this relationship and a number of new ideas have popped up in terms of other areas we can explore.”
  • Grace Kennedy Foods is a division of the Grace Kennedy Group, the Caribbean’s leading distributor of food and non-food consumer products.

The Scientific Research Council (SRC) is partnering with food manufacturing giant, Grace Kennedy on the development of new food items from local agricultural produce.

Under a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed  at the SRC’s Hope Gardens headquarters on March 8, the entities will collaborate to improve the quantity and quality of food products on the market through the application of science and technology solutions.

Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Cliff Riley, said it is anticipated that a number of products for health and wellness will be derived from the relationship.

He noted that customers are increasingly demanding foods that have health benefits.

“There is a growing demand for functional foods… so that people not only have a bellyful and have enough calories to produce energy, but that whatever they consume have some other long-term benefits in terms of overall health. That is something that we are quite keen about at the SRC and Grace Kennedy has been driving that thrust,” he said.

Dr. Riley indicated that by the end of this year or the end of the new financial year, “we should be able to have products coming from this relationship and a number of new ideas have popped up in terms of other areas we can explore.”

The SRC’s Executive Director hailed the agreement as a positive development for the Government-owned and operated research institution. “To be having a global impact on functional foods or even convenience foods …it is a noteworthy accomplishment for the Government of Jamaica,” he said.

For his part, Chief Innovation Officer for Grace Kennedy Foods, Zak Mars, informed that data gathered from test marketing carried out locally and in the United States reveal that there is a strong demand for ‘Brand Jamaica’ foods.

“Our interest, specifically, is in the use of Jamaica-based agro produce to innovate our next wave of new products… we believe this could actually be the base for a new direction for using indigenous raw material in food products in Jamaica,” he said.

It is anticipated that the agreement will have a positive impact on the agricultural sector through the consistent supply of local agricultural produce.

In addition to facilitating new product development for commercialisation, the MoU will also allow for mutual access to market and technical information.

Grace Kennedy Foods is a division of the Grace Kennedy Group, the Caribbean’s leading distributor of food and non-food consumer products.

While serving the culinary needs of discerning Caribbean consumers, the company has expanded its range of products and reach to markets in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, India and Africa.