More local products are set to hit supermarket shelves in Switzerland following a showcase by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), under the theme 'Taste Jamaica', at the island's embassy in Geneva earlier this month.
"They are certainly very interested, and our rum, coffee and cocoa could find a place on their supermarket shelves if a mutual agreement can be reached regarding pricing," according to Laurence Jones, European regional manager for JAMPRO.
"The buyers also expressed an interest in other Jamaican products, such as coconut milk and fresh produce, which could be substitutes for products now imported from the Asian market," a statement issued by JAMPRO quoted Jones as saying.
Already some 60 tonnes of Blue Mountain coffee has been imported into Switzerland over the last year, representing the equivalent annual consumption of Jamaican coffee for all of Europe.
Wayne McCook, Jamaica's ambassador to Switzerland and permanent representative to the United Nations and its agencies in Geneva, is also hopeful that this new, targeted thrust will yield positive results.
"We are very pleased that JAMPRO has partnered with us in this effort, supported
by several of our leading producers, including GraceKennedy Limited and Black River Chocolates, whose representatives from London joined in the presentation," the ambassador said.
The showcase allowed for representatives of various Jamaican companies engaged in the food and beverages trade to make presentations to various stores in Switzerland. Among the participating merchants were Swiss department stores as well as Globus and Rolf Hugli SA, the leading importer of world foods for major Swiss supermarkets and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.
While more popular Jamaican products such as rum and coffee could be easily accepted by the Swiss market, Jones said, other products would need some marketing.
"Our next step is to provide samples of Blue Mountain coffee and rum to one chain of supermarket for testing and brand analysis," he added.
"I expect that in the foreseeable future one brand each of rum and coffee will be accepted for sale," said Jones.
"However, market awareness would have to be created for items such as bammies, ackees and jerk sauces, as they are less familiar to the Swiss than coffee and rum," he explained.
Along with the presentations, potential buyers got the chance to sample rum and fruitcakes, Jamaican chocolate and Blue Mountain coffee, as well as a selection of ackee, jerked chicken, bammies and rum punch.