GK Foods and Northern Caribbean University to Promote Sorrel Research

GK Foods & Services Limited and the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Jamaica have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the development of Jamaica’s sorrel industry. The agreement was signed on Tuesday, November 24 by senior executives of GK Foods and the NCU at the University’s campus in Mandeville. Under the MOU, GK Foods will support the NCU Research Institute in its work in studying the health benefits of sorrel. The NCU, for its part, will make research findings available to assist in GK Foods’ promotion of the sorrel-based Grace Blends as a health-promoting beverage. A strategic multimedia public relations campaign promoting the health benefits of sorrel will be activated as a result of the partnership.

Grace Blends is a range of sorrel-based functional beverages that combine the flavour and nutritional benefits of a range of fruits, roots and vegetables with the antioxidant rich sorrel extract. There are no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours added. The product was developed after years of collaboration with local researchers.

Sorrel has been identified as a nutraceutical, meaning a food which provides health benefits including prevention of disease. It contains antioxidants, Vitamin C, Calcium, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Flavinoids. Sorrel reduces bad cholesterol and triglycerides, protecting against heart disease and reducing clogging of the arteries.

NCU, through its Research Institute, has committed nearly a decade of research investigating the health effects of sorrel. Studies conducted by the University have revealed that sorrel could kill certain types of cancer cells. The University has been invited to present its findings on sorrel’s cancer fighting properties to the International Conference on Cell Biology in San Diego in December.

Mr. Erwin Burton, Chief Executive Officer of GK Foods said the partnership between Grace Foods and NCU paves the way for wider acceptance and consumption of sorrel.

Inking the Deal: Mr. Erwin Burton, CEO GK Foods (seated second left) and Dr. Beverley Cameron, VP Academic Administration at NCU sign the MOU, assisted by Mr. Anthony Lawrence (right) Global Brand Manager, GK Foods. Others looking on are, seated left, Mr. Danieto Murray, VP Finance & Industries, NCU; and, standing l-r, Mr. Al Powell, Executive Director, RADA, Dr. Paul Gyles, Dean, College of Natural and Applied Sciences NCU, and Mr. Patrick Lawrence, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, lands and Fisheries.

He noted, “While sorrel has remained a staple of our holiday traditions, advances in agriculture have given rise to new strains of sorrel that can be harvested year round. This development in the sorrel story plays a critical role in the ability to develop consistent sustainable product offerings with sorrel as the main ingredient. It also is key to the shift of the sorrel-as-beverage paradigm from that of a traditional Christmas drink to a nutrient-rich beverage for consumption year round.”

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