Central Food Packers, which trades as Sunrite, and Jam Row Trading & Manufacturing Company Ltd, are among 12 Jamaican businesses that will showcase their products at the expo. Their participation in the international expo is being coordinated under the Meet Jamaica Initiative, a project of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Government of Jamaica through JAMPRO.
Natalie Grandison, marketing manager at Sunrite, said the event will be a good launching pad for its Gourmet Select line of preserves and condiments. She said six new products will be introduced into that market.
These include its Banana Chocolate Jam; Lime Pepper Jelly; Honey Thyme Glaze and Platinum Savoury Table Sauce. "We introduced these products to the USA market in July last year, and we think that this event will serve as a fitting introduction it to the UK market," said Grandison.
Sunrite is one of the leading Jamaican agro-processing manufacturers, and an exporter of canned, bottled and baked products. Grandison said this is the second time that the company would be participating in the event.
"This is great exposure for us," she said. "We expect that our presence will help to boost sales for our distributors."
The Food & Drink Expo is the UK's largest food and drink trade exhibition, which brings together grocery, food service, wholesale, manufacturing, and speciality retail traders. The event, which has been staged every other year for more than 20 years, will allow participating Jamaican businesses to interface with manufacturers and traders from across the UK and internationally.
Pepon Ruddock, chairman and chief executive officer of Jam Row Trading & Manufacturing Company, is using the event to introduce the company's recently developed syrups and wines such as its sarsaparilla kola champagne syrup, sarsaparilla strawberry syrup; sarsaparilla pineapple syrup, ginger wine and roots wine, along with its jerk seasoning.
Jam Row is a manufacturer of sauces, syrups, wines and seasonings; as well as an exporter of natural products such as quassia chip (bitter wood), kola nuts, ginger, sarsaparilla root and dog wood bark for the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and beverage industry.
Ruddock, who is participating in the expo for the first time, is seeking to identify a distributor for his products in the mainstream UK market while also attracting Jamaican consumers.
"I want to restart my distribution network in the UK and this event will give me the opportunity to do so," Ruddock maintained.
Other companies that are scheduled to participate in the expo are: Continental Baking Company Limited; Tijule Company Limited and Seprod Limited. Companies to be represented by JAMPRO are: Dees Imports, Salada Foods Jamaica, Perishables Jamaica, Jamaican Teas, Honeykist Apiaries, and Gray's Pepper Products.
Diverse J'can food brands
Joy Walcott, project manager of the London 2012 Initiative, said the project has been fulfilling its mandate to provide access to suitable UK-based events that can serve as platforms for Jamaican exporters. She said the Birmingham Food & Drink Expo is an opportunity for British and European members of the food and drink trade to sample and learn more about diverse Jamaican food brands.
"Patrons to the expo will experience Jamaican cuisine when the products are offered in their simplest form and then elevated to gourmet status by Jamaican Chef Collin Brown through his food demonstrations at the International Master Chef Class," she said. "Most importantly, patrons will learn how to incorporate Jamaican products into their everyday cooking."
"This is our second event for 2012 that is facilitating exposure for Jamaican exporters," Walcott said, noting that JAMPRO had been actively encouraging companies to participate in the initiative.
Walcott urged other Jamaican businesses to look out for future Meet Jamaica UK events that will be staged this summer. She said, "These are consumer events which offer sales-generating opportunities. They have been carefully selected and made more affordable to encourage a high level of participation by stakeholders."