Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Rainforest Captures Eastern Caribbean Markets

Published:Wednesday | July 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Contributed Photo Rainforest Seafoods products on the shelves in Barbados.

Late last year, Rainforest Seafoods Limited embarked on three simultaneous strategies to significantly increase Jamaica's exports into the Eastern Caribbean.

The first move, a greenfield entry into St Lucia, was perhaps the most bold. Rainforest is now equipped with a full-service distribution operation to supply hotels and other food-service customers in St Lucia.

Second, a partnership with Shorelinez Distributors in Barbados was struck to combine Rainforest's purchasing power and supply chain expertise with an established seafood purveyor.

Shorelinez possesses an unrivalled knowledge in the local distribution trade. Its strength in seafood sales is well regarded throughout the island. With the addition of Rainforest's wide range of products (more than 500 items), the stage is set for a thriving partnership.

Third, after multiple attempts to develop a foothold in Trinidad, Rainforest found an aggressive distributor in Hadco Limited in December 2014. Hadco is well-established with a history of promoting Jamaican brands. Already, significant growth in the distribution of Rainforest's products has indicated the immense potential in a market of approximately 1.25 million people.

Tripled sales

After the first six months of 2015, each territory has tripled in sales volume when compared to the first six months of 2014. Rainforest products can be found in all major supermarkets across Trinidad including Massey, Food Basket and Xtra Foods. In Barbados, more than 100 customers are purchasing Rainforest products; branded items are seen across the supermarket trade and bulk-packed items are being sold to the thriving Barbadian tourism sector.

St Lucia has seen the most growth. Fuelled by Rainforest's fleet of trucks, the aggressive seafood supplier is now represented in more than 50 major food-service accounts island-wide.

Export Manager Ian Duncan, now based in St Lucia, expands on this growth sector within the company,

"We have exported to 10 Caribbean islands for the past 10 years. Typically, we would ship full containers direct to individual customers. However, we decided that this approach left a lot on the table. We have customised distribution models for each island and now, with more feet on the street, these markets are reaping the benefits."

Competitive advantage

Rainforest Seafoods is particularly focused on exporting its range of locally manufactured products such as breaded fish fillets, fish nuggets, fish fingers, burgers, pickled mackerel, smoked delicacies and Jamaican bammies.

General Manager Ernest Grant said a customer-focused approach keeps Rainforest on the cutting edge.

"Seafood is singularly the most diverse protein in the international supply chain. No one country produces them all. Our ability to buy these items from all over the world, at the best prices, process, package, add value, create jobs here in Jamaica and export, based on customer needs, gives us a unique competitive advantage.

"Our versatility, purchasing strength and focus on sustainable sourcing allow us to tailor a complete basket of more than 500 seafood offerings for customers across the Caribbean."