Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Partners Trade Winds, Wisynco enter milk market with Tru-Shake

Published:Friday | November 13, 2020 | 12:12 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter

A month after acquiring drinks manufacturer Jamaica Beverages, Trade Winds Citrus has entered the milk market with a protein shake under the brand name Tru-Shake.

The product released last week will compete against the imported brand Ensure. Trade Winds also plans to launch a Tru-Almond milk by year end.

Production and distribution arrangements between Trade Winds and joint-venture partner Wisynco will be extended to include any new line of milk and beverages produced by the newly acquired Jamaica Beverages assets.

“This locally made product has the same amount of protein and nutrients as Ensure but is priced about 30 to 40 per cent cheaper, so we expect it to do very well,” said William Mahfood, chairman of Wisynco Group Limited.

“Very soon, we plan to start distribution of our locally produced milk as well and it will give us more opportunities to displace imports,” he said.

Trade Winds said in a release that US$3 million was invested in the new milk manufacturing line.

The beverage companies’ entry into the milk market will give fillip to the business that has been eroded under the pandemic, with the temporary lockdown of hotels, the continued lockdown of schools, and limited entertainment activity.

In the September quarter, Wisynco experienced a slippage in revenue to $8.1 billion and a decline in earnings by 9 per cent to $851 million.

Sales on the local market trended downwards, but was somewhat offset by increased international sales which jumped 43 per cent; lowered administrative and distribution expenses; and greater efficiencies from the commissioning of its cogeneration plant.

“While we have lost some business on the local market since the pandemic, we have picked up quite a few business [opportunities], with the renewed focus on the export markets,” Mahfood said.

“We expect the expanded lines of products to bring back some local revenue for us over the next quarter,” he said.

The business partners did not disclose how much of the milk market they are targeting, and the level of business they expect to claw from imports, which dominate upwards of 70 per cent of locally consumed milk products.

Trade Winds, which had been making plans to enter the dairy market for three years, accomplished its goal when it acquired the assets of Jamaica Beverages Limited, a failed drinks company whose products included the milk brand Dairy Farmers.

The two companies were once rivals, operating from adjoining properties in Bog Walk, St Catherine.

Since the acquisition, Jamaica Beverages has been operated as a satellite of Trade Winds Citrus, with selected staff reporting to Trade Winds executives.

Trade Winds will continue to manufacture the Diary Farmers and Juciful brands, previously produced by Jamaica Beverages, along with other brands under development by Trade Winds.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com