Mon | Dec 10, 2018

GraceKennedy to commission Denbigh factory in August

Published:Wednesday | December 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Don Wehby, group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited.

GraceKennedy Limited expects to commission new manufacturing space at Denbigh, Clarendon, by midsummer, from where it will produce canned and frozen foods for Jamaican consumers and foreign markets, according to Group CEO Don Wehby.

The conglomerate is investing "US$1.85 million in plant and equipment to enable the production of a range of frozen and canned vegetables, to be sold and marketed globally under the Grace and/or La Fe brands," Wehby told Gleaner Business.

The space for the new plant, spanning 60,000 square feet, was leased from Factories Corporation of Jamaica.

The facility, which already houses equipment for value-added frozen food production, will be upgraded to produce canned and preserved foods as well, Wehby said.

"The facility is currently being readied for local and international regulatory approval, with the aim to commence commercial production for local and export markets by August 2018," he said.

GraceKennedy eventually plans to add products such as cassava, breadfruit, green plantain and ripe plantain to the "innovation pipeline", Wehby said.

"While the plant itself would create approximately 90 new jobs, this project will also have significant spin-off benefits for the local agricultural sector, as the company's demands on contract farmers in terms of crop variety and quantity increase over time," he said

Denbigh will become GraceKennedy's sixth manufacturing plant in Jamaica.

Its other manufacturing facilities, which together employ approximately 470 persons, are Grace Food Processors Meat Division producer of hams, vienna sausages, frankfurters, and bacon; Grace Food Processors Canning Division - producer of Tropical Rhythms and Lishus beverages, ketchup and baked beans; National Processors Division - producer of Cock Soup, Fresh Start, cup porridges, sachet seasonings and fortified food drink; Grace Agro-Processors Hounslow - producer of Fresh N' Ready vegetable mixes, scallion and pepper mash; and Dairy Industries (Jamaica) Limited, which produces Tastee cheese and This Is Really Great yogurt.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com