Tue | Oct 17, 2017

GraceKennedy looking into producing 'bully beef' locally

Published:Wednesday | April 5, 2017 | 11:55 AMChristopher Serju
Don Wehby, Group Chief Executive Officer, GraceKennedy Limited.

Canned corned beef produced in Jamaica - likely labelled ‘Bully Beef’ as it is popularly known locally - and marketed under the Grace brand could be on the market by next year.

GraceKennedy’s innovation team has been mandated to look into the possibility of producing a ‘Grace Bully Beef’ at the company’s processing plant at Westmoreland, which produces a range of meat products such as Vienna sausages, frankfurters and picnic hams.

"The team will explore this innovation and provide a report to me as soon as possible. It would be great if we could deliver to our consumers ‘Grace Bully Beef’ manufactured in Savanna-La-Mar, Jamaica." GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby told The Gleaner yesterday.

“One of the things that they have cautioned me about is the required raw material that will be needed and I guess they will have to meet with the local agricultural people but I’ve asked them to come back to me in a few months with a firm recommendation of how we can do it,” Wehby said.

“So don’t be surprised if you see a locally produced Grace Corned Beef in the market next year, which is fantastic. Maybe we can’t do the full production as the imported one but I am sure we’ll be supported by your own Diaspora and our own Jamaican people here.”

Wehby insisted that the decidedly Jamaican-style quick-dish would not necessarily be packaged as the traditional corned beef but was definitely something he had given serious food for thought.

“It may not be in the same can or anything as we know bully beef but those are the sorts of things that they’ll be looking at in terms of packaging, raw material feasibility and so on but it is a very active discussion that we are having at GraceKennedy as we speak. The point is that the Jamaican private sector, as entrepreneurs, we need to start thinking outside of the box. It is going to be a big challenge but that’s what I’m here for as a leader of GraceKennedy; to challenge the status quo and say 'let’s see if we can do it locally'.”

The GraceKennedy CEO was reacting to Government’s decision to lift the two-week ban on the sale and distribution of corned beef, which had been pulled from local shelves amid reports of corruption and the use of tainted meat in the processing plants in Brazil, the country from which Jamaica imports 99 per cent of its corned beef.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com