Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Rainforest shows off new processing plant

Published:Monday | May 9, 2016 | 5:00 AMDaviot Kelly
Rainforest Seafoods team member Suzanna Gray guts and prepares mackerel in the pickling room at the company’s Kingston plant last Friday.
Max Jardim (right), business and product development manager at Rainforest Seafoods, explains some of the plans for lobster production to Industry Minister Karl Samuda (left). Looking on is Brian Jardim, CEO of Rainforest Seafoods.
Christopher Roxburgh (right) of Rainforest Seafoods shows Karl Samuda, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, how the company produces burger meat.
Marketing manager of Rainforest Seafoods Roger Lyn (right) and Everton Salmon, warehouse manager, show some of the products rolling out from the new processing plant at the Slipe Road facility in Kingston.
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Already among the largest food manufacturing entities in Jamaica, Rainforest Seafoods is putting even further distance between themselves and their competitors.

This is with their new processing plant at the Slipe Road facility in the Corporate Area. The facility is the newer of the two operated by Rainforest in Jamaica. Members of the media and the industry ministry were given a tour of the facility last Friday.

The plant is a climate-controlled, 40,000-square-foot facility in which the stability of the wide range of manufactured products is expertly maintained. CEO Brian Jardim said that when the Kingston space was identified years ago, there were doubters because of its location.

"It has been a beacon in the neighbourhood, and we employ from our surrounding areas," said Jardim. "We've been able to grow this facility here to more than 350 team members under these several rooms."

Jardim noted the three-quarter-acre plant straddles three eight-hour shifts. Cleanliness is paramount, as guests were taken through a number of safety and health procedures as they toured the various areas.

Max Jardim, business and product development manager, said independent auditors came down on behalf of various chain stores they supply to ensure every aspect was up to standard.

"This food manufacturing and food-processing plant has positioned us to take advantage of the diaspora. That's our focus," he said. "We're currently exporting all of our manufactured food items to 10 Caribbean islands. We export lobster and conch to France, Singapore and Taiwan."

 

THE NEXT STEP

 

He said the next step is value-added manufactured proteins into the diaspora, including Atlanta and London. Company executives also highlighted some of the newest Rainforest Seafoods products, and marketing manager Roger Lynn noted the processing plant enables them to roll these products out.

"And we are still investing, we're still putting in more equipment, doing different things. It's a continuous process," he said. "We continue to spend money. We are looking at the possibilities and trying to maximise where possible."

Lynn said the current plant took about two years to be completed, and there was more construction taking place at another section of the facility. When asked if they could outgrow the Kingston space, Lynn said it was possible. The plant utilises green technology, including solar panels and bio-diesel fuel. The company also has its own well, which offsets some of the reliance on the public water supply.

daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com