Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Crafton Holdings to produce egg powder, targets Trinidad for exports

Published:Friday | February 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Damion Crawford, managing director of Crafton Holdings Limited.

Crafton Holdings Limited is procuring equipment to produce egg powder, which would extend the shelf life of the highly perishable protein to five years and allow for overseas distribution.

Managing Director Damion Crawford expects delivery of the Sanovo dehydration machine from Italy in April, but is already scouting around for markets in the local and regional bakery trade.

He expects to ramp up production by June, after developing samples of the product.

Crafton is already reported to be the only liquid eggs manufacturer in the region. Crawford said his company would also be the first in Jamaica and the Caribbean to produce fully dehydrated eggs.

As part of an annual cycle, there is usually a glut of eggs after the Yuletide season, which Crawford describes as an overhang from the number of birds put into production as layers to meet the peak demand period in December, while pitching his powdered product as a potential solution.

"What this does is reduce the boom-and-bust glut situation for farmers, because it has a longer shelf life-up to five years. So the egg can remain available instead of being thrown away," Crawford said.

"We will now be able to go to people who prefer powder, such as bakeries. They use a lot of dry mixes," he said.

Jamaica's statistical agency, STATIN, says it has no trade data on egg powder.

Crawford said Jamaica does not import egg powder in large quantities, but that across the Caribbean imports amounted to 369,238 kilogrammes in 2016.

His aim, he says, is to substitute those imports with his product. Crawford is especially eyeing market opportunities in Trinidad & Tobago, which he says imports large quantities of egg powder.

Crafton Holdings, which trades as Convenience Foods Liquid Eggs, launched into the liquid eggs business in late 2016 after purchasing the assets of Caribbean Egg Processors Limited, a former joint venture between Caribbean Producers Jamaica (CPJ) and the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association-owned Liquid Eggs Limited. CPJ exited that partnership in 2015.

Crafton is now constructing a new wing at the Bay Farm Road factory in Kingston to house the egg powder operation.

Crawford declined to comment on the investment in the new business line, but said financing for the project was sourced from private investors who were providing loans, some of which included arrangements for profit-sharing.

Crafton Holdings completed its first full year of operation in 2017. To meet new supply commitments as the sole producer of pasteurised liquid eggs in the Caribbean, the company purchased and put into operation its own egg farm in Rosend, St Mary, last year. The farm currently produces 17 crates of shell eggs per day.

"We are paying our bills, we are not making a profit yet - but a new company would want to pay its bills and establish markets," Crawford reasoned.

Shell eggs for Convenience Foods' processing plant are also sourced from the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association. In August, Crawford said that investment in the business up to that date was in the ballpark of $100 million, inclusive of the acquisition costs for the liquid eggs assets.

Crafton Holdings is owned 51 per cent by Damion Crawford and 49 per cent by Benton Woodbine of St Catherine, according to Companies Office records.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com