The Business Year

Jamaican producers are mastering foreign technologies, logistics, and production methods to drive the production of sustainable and market-beating Jamaican products.

Dianna Blake-Bennett

General Manager, Salada Foods Jamaica Ltd.

We have been able to stand the test of time, something not many companies established in Jamaica in 1968 can say. Our business has legs on which to stand. In the past year, we have been able to truly push toward our most important strategic pillar—growing our export sales. Our seven-year plan is to have exports represent 25% of our total business. As of 2018, we were at 14%, a good indicator that we are heading in the right direction. Additionally, we have been developing new products to engage with different consumers and a younger demographic within the beverage industry. In the last two years, we have been able to roll out four new products that are significant highlights in terms of growing our business and diversifying our offerings to our consumer. Our third accomplishment has been solidifying our position over the last two years by utilizing social platforms through which to engage younger consumers; our metrics indicate that they have begun to embrace the Jamaica Mountain Peak brand. When it comes to diversifying into ginger tea, flavored coffee, and cocoa, not to mention turmeric, these seem to be the best bang for our buck in terms of long-term growth. Global beverage trends indicate growing demand and diversity in each of these categories. In keeping with the strategy, we have rolled out a new coffee brand, introduced flavoured coffees under our Jamaica Mountain Peak brand, and are working on introducing some new instant tea products.

Sean Garbutt

Managing Director, Walkerswood

Longevity alone often speaks for itself, but the fact that we are able to keep providing the same product for more than 40 years is consistent with how we operate. We benefit from a loyal customer and fan base, which extends all the way down to the recognition of our packaging. Moreover, continued growth through strong community involvement and development for the last nine years has been another huge achievement. In the same way, we employ 100 people from within our Walkerswood community and surrounding areas. That does not include the farmers society, for which we either own or lease land. We provide farmers with land and filtered water and are highly dependent on them to make sure our produce is 100% Jamaican. There is huge demand in Jamaica for fresh scotch bonnet peppers, pimento berries, and pimento wood for cooking. On the other hand, we have a network of farmers who have been with us for more than 15 years. There is a growing demand for Jamaican products, but the majority of these are not authentic. For example, many high-profile brands now have jerk products that have not been obtained from authentic sources. As for our broader strategy, Walkerswood has always provided a beautiful opportunity for tourists to visit the island. Over time, jerk has become a popular roadside offering not just for locals but also for tourists; offering seasoning was only the next reasonable step. This is how we started.

Mark A. Haskins

CEO, Mark A. Haskins

A huge step forward has been our continued growth. Our products are becoming more accepted by Jamaicans; however, the most important economic development for the company was the start of a major investment, a USD70- million campus in the country. This will have separate processing, rendering, and wastewater treatment facilities. The output of this processing plant will be water to be used for irrigation if desired. This is the largest agricultural project in the entire history of Jamaica, and we hope to be in the middle of large-scale construction by January 2019, although we have already completed a large part of the infrastructure such as roads, water drainage systems, and everything else necessary for acquiring our permits from the government and regulation authorities. The only way for Jamaica to become a first world country is through agriculture, and we represent an industry that can bring the right technology and safety to food processing, ensuring that people will remember the excellent taste of our products long after eating them. On the animal feed and crop side, we have an organization that does a great deal of work within the Caribbean. We deliver between 15-20 containers a week to around nine island countries, thus boosting the agricultural industries of those nations. We also do a great deal of business with Suriname and have also done business in Guyana. At the same time, we produce affordable feed for farmers here due to our integration and ability to lower the cost of production.

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