Mon | Oct 23, 2017

‘Grace sell off’ - 93-year-old company named Gleaner’s Honouree of the Year

Published:Friday | January 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Don Wehby, chief executive officer of GraceKennedy Group Limited (centre), surrounded by the GraceKennedy team. Yesterday the company was named the 2014 Honouree of the Year at The Gleaner's Honour Awards at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Anne Marie Bonner, executive director of the Insitute of Jamaica, which received honours for arts and culture.
Marcia Griffiths receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for Entertainment during yesterday's Gleaner's Honour Awards, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. Christopher Barnes, Gleaner managing director, shares the moment with the queen of reggae.
Rudolph Brown/Photographer The 13 honourees (or their representatives) who received awards during the 36th annual Gleaner's Honour Awards held yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Jeremy Whittaker (right), CEO of Grasshopper Productions, receives the entertainment award for his movie, Destiny, from Robin Williams, The Gleaner's manager for online media and information, during yesterday's Gleaner's Honour Awards gala luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
1
2
3
4
5

Yesterday, GraceKennedy was named the 2014 Honouree of the Year at the annual staging of The Gleaner's Honour Awards gala luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew.

"This is such a surreal moment for us at GraceKennedy. On behalf of the 2,000 hard-working men and women at Grace, we are humbled and proud of this recognition and to be honoured by such a prestigious company as The Gleaner for the work we are doing."

He added: "After 93 years of service to Jamaica, Grace continues to be the leading brand for consumers, not just here in Jamaica but across the world. We are absolutely proud to take the Jamaican brand to the rest of the world. Our aim is that Grace will be the world's best."

BREAKING NEW GROUND

True to its vision of being a global consumer group, which includes selling 15 per cent of its wide variety of Jamaica-made products in three different continents, today the GraceKennedy brand is doing very well in the Caribbean, United States, United Kingdom, West Africa and parts of Europe.

Last year, the company broke into the Russian market, with its products now available in 85 stores. It also branched off into Germany, France and Holland.

Wehby said when he got recent reports out of Ghana that "Grace products sell off", it brought laughter and joy to his heart.

"We export our Tropical Rhythms products to Ghana, and when the three or four containers land, they go just like that. Them just sell off," he jubilantly declared.

GraceKennedy is also a dominant force in the financial and remittance industry.

Added to that, over the years, the company has made significant philanthropic contributions to countless lives in every nook and cranny of Jamaica, thanks to its myriad benevolent foundations.

With five factories across the island, Wehby said practically all its products are manufactured in Jamaica.

"It is a lot of hard work and we have our challenges, but we are very focused and determined in our goal, and we really believe that we can make a difference not only to Jamaica but the rest of the world," the CEO added, noting that it always warms the heart to know that after almost a century, Grace is still the number-one brand of choice for consumers.

"Grace has never compromised on quality. We set ourselves a very high standard and compare ourselves to the best in the world, so our motto will always remain 'For quality and taste, buy Grace'," Wehby shared.

PROUD TO SALUTE GRACE

Christopher Barnes, managing director of The Gleaner, said the multimedia company was proud to recognise and honour GraceKennedy for its outstanding work.

"Here is a company that has been around for a long time and they have grown from strength to strength. They have a vision of being a global company and they are indeed fulfilling that vision, taking brand Jamaica to the four corners of the world," stated Barnes.

"They have expanded into many international markets. And let's not forget the corporate social responsibility that is interwoven in the fabric of GraceKennedy. Grace is really doing a tremendous job in bettering the lives of so many persons in need."

With laughter, Barnes added: "Besides, I am absolutely proud to be a Grace baby, because my father worked for GraceKennedy. I grew up on Grace Vienna Sausages and Ketchup. Not to mention the macaroni and rice and peas, lick your lips, pass the ketchup, please. That was my favourite Sunday dinner."

This year, The Gleaner honoured 13 individuals and organisations for their outstanding work in 2014.

"It just warms the heart, absolutely priceless, when you see how proud the honourees are of being recognised and honoured for their outstanding service to Jamaica. And getting to know each of them and why they do what they do makes doing this each year that much more refreshing and fulfilling," Barnes noted.

"I must say, each year The Gleaner Honour Awards gets better and better, thanks to the great team we have.

Launched in 1979, each year, The Gleaner's Honour Awards recognises the initiative, accomplishment and courage of individuals or organisations that have contributed significantly to improving Jamaica's quality of life.

anastasia.cunningham@gleanerjm.com