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Jamaican Foods highlighted at American Food Festival

MIAMI BEACH – Jamaican foods and beverages shared the spotlight at the annual Americas Food and Beverage Show and conference which ended today at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The two-day Food Expo which attracted nearly 6,000 local and international food service professionals – retailers, distributors and import and export agents – gave participants the opportunity to enhance their businesses, while learning of the latest industry trends.

Ms. Berletta Forrest, Manager, Export Promotion of Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI) told JIS News that the response to the Jamaican booth was very encouraging. “There was an unmistaken look about the Jamaican brand,” she said. “We are ensuring that the Jamaican brand is still distinctively authentic and not lost in the show” she added.

She emphasized that the Food Expo has always presented a good opportunity to meet existing Jamaican distributors already carrying our products and wanting to find new goods, as well as potential buyers of Jamaican products.
She described that emphasis has been placed on new packaging features such environmental-friendly details, and organic theme displaying the natural products.

In an effort to gain market share, Ms. Forrest said that JTI would now continue working with local companies in strengthening industry contacts, looking at ways to increase visibility of Jamaican products, keeping with trends in packaging and also distribution channels, and more importantly supplies for small and large export markets.

Using the theme “Jamaica to the World” the booth showcased an assortment of authentic Jamaican products against a backdrop of indigenous foods from six local companies.

Exotic foods such as ackee and callaloo, displayed as canned items continued to enjoy the spotlight as retailers and distributors expressed interest in the unique products. Other items on display included packaged beverages such as coffee, teas and hot chocolate, and a variety of frozen meals.

Ms. Caron Chung, Director of Bankra Buys, Kingston, was enthusiastic about the positively strong presence to the booth. “We take pride in providing quality products that are grown and produced in Jamaica” she said pointing to the variety of products on display including supplies of coffee, sauces and condiments. The response she said, was from large supermarket chains and specialty retail shops interested in the Jamaican brands and the forum was an excellent boost for Jamaican food products as the it attracted a large number of international buyers and distributors.

According to Ms. Chung, the primary interest was to intensify supply for the demands and continue the process of leveraging the relationships and commitments.

Grace Foods, USA, also attracted a large crowd to its display of products. “We are continuing the process of increasing awareness in our growing foreign markets” according to Joy Thomas, Market Manager, Grace Foods, USA.

Exotic Caribbean flavours and samples of coconut waters, packaged cereals, baked products showcased by Grace Foods, USA, while other participating companies displayed an assortment of jerk seasonings and sauces, packaged meals and agro-processed foods.

The Jamaican companies displaying products included Tetley Teas, Suntracks Corporation, Coffee Traders, Blue Ribbon and Hark Has.

Several aisles were adorned with new and tasty foods and beverages from more than 250 exhibitors across some 20 countries. Samplings were represented from Asia, Europe, South and Central America and the Caribbean region and North America and Canada.

Several networking sessions were part of the three-day agenda, which included seminars on sales, negotiating principles, export/import assistance programmes, health product trends in changing markets as well as regulations in the food and beverage industry.

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