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CB Foods creates start-up to supply Jamaica-made beef burger patties

Published:Wednesday | July 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder

Caribbean Broilers Jamaica Limited, which now refers to itself on its website as CB Foods, is venturing into a new area of the meat market that is now fed by imported beef trimmings, having developed its own locally made patties, Bonafide Burgers.

It's also CB's first beef operation. The closest it has come to date is the provision of beef ration through its animal feed subsidiary.

Describing the venture as a start-up that is just laying the groundwork to go after business, CB Foods regional development manager Alicia Bogues said the market targeted by Bonafide Burgers is sizeable, spanning both eateries and hotels.

"If we consider the number of hotel rooms in Jamaica - over 25,000 - they all serve burgers, especially at their beach grills. Additionally, we have many sports bars and restaurants offering burgers. But, the reality is, they're all using imported beef trimmings, so millions of dollars are pumped into imported beef," she said.

Bogues declined to say the size of the investment being made by the poultry group in the new start-up.

CB Foods' core business is poultry, but around a decade ago the Hendrickson family-owned business also ventured into pork production. Beef adds a third line to its meat production portfolio.

For now, however, CB's import-substitution plan to control the beef trimmings market remains an ambition.

Based on Statin's import data, beef trimmings is a $750-million market.

"While Bonafide Burgers has no market share now," said Bogues, "we exist in our own category as the only local beef burger on the market. Bonafide Burgers are made with 100 per cent real local meat, with no artificial preservatives, fill or paste."

Each four-ounce burger patty will have a 75:35 meat to fat ratio, she said.

CB will source its raw material from local cattle farmers, through the Red Poll Society and other leads.

"Cattle is audited to ensure the highest quality. What's more, the cows are predominantly fed on a grass diet, and given absolutely no hormones," Bogues told the Financial Gleaner.

The company, she noted, had not directly invested in cattle, but through sister company Newport Mills, has developed a relationship with farmers, especially through the multi-partner 'Drink Real Milk' national campaign. Newport Mills produces feed for cattle and other animals under the Nutramix brand.

CB Foods first entered the market with its flagship chicken brand more than 30 years ago. In the late 1990s, the group entered the pork market through a new acquisition, Copperwood Farms Limited; and later added table eggs, fielding an enriched Omega 3 brand as one of its differentiated offerings through Chippenham Eggs.

Currently, the group's only exports are animal feeds to Caricom markets. Bogues said CB is actively exploring Caricom markets for the export of food, but for now all its products are consumed in Jamaica.