Kingston, Jamaica – Jamaican condiment and seasoning manufacturer King Pepper Products Ltd. has re-entered the Canadian market after participating in a JAMPRO-led trade mission to Canada in 2016.
The company, which was joined by six other Jamaican manufacturers, was able to secure a distributor for its Eaton’s line of products, and received its first container order to Canada late last year.
King Pepper participated in the mission to meet with buyers in the Toronto area, and to explore ways of meeting the demand for its products in Canada.
King Pepper also wanted to participate in JAMPRO’s market intelligence initiative, where the Agency took exporters to meet with retail and manufacturing players in other markets to get a first-hand experience of what was needed to export to international countries.
King Pepper’s Managing Director Christine Wong said her company was focused on maintaining its presence in the North American market due to the large diaspora base in the United States and Canada. She described her experience on the mission as fruitful, saying, “The Canada mission was well organized. I was impressed with the professionalism in each of the 3 components; buyer meetings, trade/market visits and consumer days. It was an asset to the mission that JAMPRO has a Toronto office, and I feel that it was a significant reason for the trip’s success. Buyer feedback to our Eaton’s products was extremely positive. They were particularly impressed with our packaging and wide product range.”
She explained that the company was now looking to capitalize on its recent achievements and expand outside of the diaspora base to the general market. Discussing King Pepper’s future strategy, Ms. Wong said, “Further success and growth for our brand will come from product acceptance from outside the diaspora and we are confident that this acceptance is within reach. It is important that we support our distributors with marketing activities and specials, so I will be visiting again soon to work on marketing strategies. Getting the products on the shelf is only half the battle, we also have to get consumers to give the products a try.”
JAMPRO has focused on Canada as a key export market for Jamaican products due to the large Jamaican diaspora and changing food consumption trends favouring ethnic foods.
It is estimated that there are over 300,000 persons of Jamaican descent in the country, and that the Caribbean food market is valued at US$10M and growing 5% annually.
The Agency has utilized its roster of distributors of Caribbean products in Canada to bring more Jamaican products to the country, and has developed a close relationship with the top importers. Together these importers/distributors account for 50% of the Canadian ethnic food market.
Congratulating the company’s success, Vice President of Export and Market Development Robert Scott said that JAMPRO has a strategy in place to support Jamaican companies that wanted to maintain their presence in Jamaica’s traditional and non-traditional export markets.
Jamaica exported over US$181,056,624 worth of goods to Canada in 2015, consisting mainly of aluminum oxide according to the International Trade Centre (ITC).
JAMPRO wants to increase agro-processed exports to boost this figure. VP Scott called on Jamaican exporters to be more pro-active in reaching out to JAMPRO for market intelligence, advice and contacts in the Canadian market, as the Agency works more aggressively to bring more locally manufactured products to Canadian shelves.
Mr. Scott said, “It is important for us to carry these companies in market so they can properly assess demand, pricing, labeling and other issues affecting their access to market. The mission to Canada encompassed all of this, and we have been seeing positive reactions from the exporters who participated. We look forward to working more with these companies and cementing deals to increase Jamaica’s exports to Canada.”