Apr 23, 2011

Cassava News 95

JP brand set to expand


CASSAVANEWS to follow Jamaica Gleaner WHEN TROPICAL Storm Gustav devastated the local banana industry in 2008, JP Tropical Foods, the island's largest banana producer, suffered a major setback, to the extent that it suspended exports of the fruit. Three years on, banana cultivation is still the mainstay of the company's operation in Agualta Vale, St Mary; but cassava, sweet potato, and pineapple are gaining ground in terms of the acreage under cultivation.

This is by design, according to Jeffrey Hall, CEO of Jamaica Producers Group Limited, an outgrowth of the lessons learnt from that disaster.

"We decided to reinvent ourselves, and the idea has been to develop very strong brands and diversify our product offering and to strengthen our connection to our community, and we are actually making good progress on all three fronts, which in commercial terms obviously means ensuring our investment in St Mary continues to have value. For us, it's important that the community in St Mary be vibrant, economically grounded," Hall told The Gleaner recently.

He said the group, so far, had three outstanding brands. "We are actually a leader in branded fresh produce because we have branded the banana, and we have taken branded position on fresh fruits, which we see as a commodity item," stated Hall. "The third brand is called JP Simply Fresh, which is adding convenience to the fresh items, and that's where the bammy products fall, and that's just the first in a range of things that we'll be doing in that category," he continued.

Chips galore

Even though banana still occupies most of the land, the presence of pineapple, cassava, and potato has literally altered the landscape of an operation which today provides chips - banana, sweet potato, and cassava - in regular and barbecue offerings, which, with the company's strong marketing thrust, have taken consumers by storm.

"The brands, we are satisfied, are becoming, step by step, entrenched in the Jamaican mindset," said Hall. "The work that you see is taking an agricultural output and making it stand for high quality, excitement, fun, good for your health. That's the brand."

No comments:

Cassava - Google News