Birmingham Food & Drink Expo yields success for Jamaican companies


Birmingham Food & Drink Expo yields success for Jamaican companies

Berletta Henlon Forrester (left), JAMPRO’s Export Promotion Manager at JAMPRO interacts with a patron at the Birmingham Food & Drink Expo 2012 in the UK, which was held from March 25 to March 27.

Jamaican companies that participated in the recent Food & Drink Expo in Birmingham, United Kingdom  said the show was a success, with some companies generating positive business prospects.

Eleven Jamaican companies showcased products in the Food & Drink Expo, at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, from March 25 to 27. Their display in the international food show was coordinated by JAMPRO  under the Meet Jamaica Initiative, a project of The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Government of Jamaica.

“It was a success and we had excellent feedback,” said Soroya Tomlinson, Export Manager, Continental Baking Company (National Baking Company), which used the Expo to introduce new Spur Tree Spices, such as jerk sauce seasoning, curried seasoning, pepper jelly and pepper sauces, to the market.

Known traditionally for its bread and buns, Continental Baking Company already has a presence in the United Kingdom; however, Mrs. Tomlinson said that Continental Baking Company received leads to penetrate Northern England.

“We do not have our products in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, therefore, our focus was to identify persons from up North who would take our products, and we were successful,” she said.

Donette Reece, Export Manager at Seprod, said the Expo created awareness for Seprod products. “It was a good experience, and the feedback has been positive,” she stated, adding that several businesses wanted to distribute their products.

“We already have two distributors in the UK and we have forwarded the leads to our current distributors based on our export policy,” she pointed out. Seprod manufactures and distributes baked products, beverages, edible oils and fats, corn products and other household consumer products.

Miss Reece said there was positive feedback for its new” CocoMalt” biscuit, which was first introduced to that market during the Expo.”  She said the product was a hit, with patrons treated to a delicious CocoMalt based cheesecake created by Chef Collin Brown.

“Our distributor wanted to take it, and having seen the response, we have already received an order,” she said. “That was a plus for us.”

Berletta Henlon Forrester, JAMPRO’s Export Promotion Manager, who led the Jamaican delegation, said the Food and Drink Expo provided yet another platform for showcasing some of Jamaica’s high quality offerings under the banner of Meet Jamaica.

“The Pavilion was kept busy with visitors sampling the irresistible range of food and beverage, but more importantly, the Jamaican exhibitors were able to meet with members of the distributive and retail trade interested in doing business with them,” she said.

“JAMPRO has already commenced follow up contacts with buyers met at the trade show, and will continue to pursue them with a view to facilitating the conversion of trade leads into actual export order fulfillment,” Mrs. Henlon Forrester added.

A highlight of the show was the Meet Jamaica-hosted Culinary Master Class led by celebrated Jamaican Chef Collin Brown.  This event drew a ‘standing room only’ audience of enthusiastic show visitors who were keen to learn how to ‘cook Jamaican’.

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 two decades, allows participating businesses to interface with manufacturers and traders from across the UK.


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