Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Salada Foods enters brewed coffee market

Published:Wednesday | September 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham/Business Reporter

Instant coffee maker Salada Foods Jamaica,has expanded its coffee portfolio to a new line of ground and roasted beans as it positions for business from the hospitality sector.

For now, Salada says it's looking for a modest increase in market share from the products, while Commercial and Corporate Affairs Manager Tami Brown says the next year or so will show whether the new products can move the needle, substantively.

"Looking at our local market in conjunction with our partner Lasco Distributors, the conservative estimate is that we should see a five per cent increase as a percentage of the value of the total portfolio in the initial 12 months," Brown told the Financial Gleaner.

She confirmed that distribution partner Lasco had quietly introduced the products to the market, backed by samplings, over the weekend.

The new line, which bears the same brand as the instant coffee, Jamaica Mountain Peak, is available in two sizes and two varieties - roasted and ground & roasted whole beans.

It's Salada's first foray into the tourist market, which has been a lucrative source for other local coffee companies. The market and product diversification comes as the 60-year-old coffee processor looks to hit the sweet-spot as a billion-dollar company by revenues.

Simultaneous with the local launch, Salada is looking to supply export markets.

"We took a step back and asked ourselves 'what kind of price point, what kind of packaging' and so on, that was required in these segments," said Brown.

"We are looking to be competitive by coming in with products that we have taste-tested in some of the leading hotels in Jamaica with some rave reviews so definitely we are in a segment that we can compete in," Brown said.

The coffee marketer said research has shown that most coffee drinkers internationally consume roast and ground coffee and that while instant coffee drinking has increased over the years, the new product would be a fillip for Salada in terms of its market presence internationally.

"We've reached out to our international partners in Cayman, the United States and Canada and presented the product to them, and so far the feedback has been positive," Brown said.

Salada produces instant coffee under the Mountain Peak, and, more recently, the Mountain Bliss 876 brand that was launched in May.

Salada is rolling out products with a broad strategy in mind - market diversification.

"We see ourselves as the coffee company of Jamaica. We can't truly hold on to that name unless we act as such. Therefore, for every segment of the market we should have an answer that is attractive to the intended consumer base," Brown said.

The company is also reviewing its other beverage lines, including teas and cocoa, with a similar goal of line extension.

"All we'll say to the loyal customers and those to come is 'stay tuned'," said Brown.

"We are listening to the market, doing the research and the necessary introspection, and having done things in the same way for a very long time, we are looking to evolve with our customers even as they continue to love us the way they do," she said.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com