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Jamaica Cold Pressed Juices set to change sugar cane narrative

Published:Thursday | November 4, 2021 | 5:58 AM
Toussaint Davy of Jamaica Cold Pressed Juices.
Toussaint Davy of Jamaica Cold Pressed Juices.

Sugar cane has long played an essential role in Jamaica’s history, and if Toussaint Davy has anything to do with it, the legacy will continue through his company Jamaica Cold Pressed Juice.

Offering a healthier alternative to the processed high sugar content juices available on the market, Davy, a British-Jamaican, has created a unique formula of cold-pressed cane juice that is chock-full of antioxidants and immune-boosting benefits. With the use of local flavours such as turmeric, tamarind, soursop, and beetroot, among many other seasonal favourites, he has carved out a new healthy niche for sugar cane.

Davy started cold-pressing cane juice back in the United Kingdom in 2012 when he discovered how much people enjoyed drinking the combination of refreshing and sweet taste and found out about its long-term health benefits.

“I had a simple idea, and slowly everyone started to catch on. I started at a market stall on Brixton Station Road in London. Back then, everyone thought I was crazy, importing cane at considerable cost from Jamaica and juicing it with a modified iron clothes mangle – but the customers kept coming. Soon, I was being asked to attend events such as the Notting Hill Carnival. With a growing corporate list including the Royal Academy, the Capital Hills Hotel Group, Hilton Hotels, local government associations, and Google UK, among others, I knew I was on to something world-class and unique,” he recalls.

CHANGING THE JUICING INDUSTRY

Having moved to Jamaica in 2018, Davy now has his eyes set on changing the juice industry, “after selling different Jamaican commodities: mainly our world-renowned Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee and Maypan coconuts – I realised I want to give a nod to my ancestors by revolutionising the juice market. Being of Jamaican heritage, the negative association with the sugar industry, and its ties to slavery, made me want to transform a problematic past into a positive future for generations to come. I have an overriding desire to destigmatise a plant that is integral to our past, is a part of our present, and could well play an important part in our future,” he says.

A history graduate of the London School of Economics, Davy spent many years studying the history of the slave trade, sugar, and how it affected the Caribbean, its legacy, and its generational effects from the 18th century to the present day.

“Make no mistake, our African ancestors came to the Caribbean under horrific conditions and often worked for 18 hours a day, six days a week in the blistering sun, planting and reaping the sugar cane. They would have to carry it on their backs to mills where the juice was extracted,” he explains.

As a youngster, he fondly remembers enjoying cutting and eating raw sugar cane during a vacation on his family’s land in Top Hill, St Thomas. After selling cane juice at events in the United Kingdom for seven years as a side hustle, he decided to take his business ‘back home’ by moving to Jamaica in 2018 to develop the alternative sugar cane industry and its by-products for export.

Since then, Jamaica Cold Pressed Juices has distributed cold-pressed cane juice to select supermarkets islandwide and wellness establishments in the Corporate Area with an eye to expanding fully across the rest of the island.

“Sugar cane has loads of health benefits. As an unrefined and complex sugar, it’s said, in moderation, to not spike insulin levels in type 2 diabetics. As the Greeks reputedly said, sugar cane is ‘the reed that produces honey without bees’,” remembers the history graduate.

He states, “My customers understand the benefits of drinking my formula of cold-pressed cane juice. Added to that is a blend containing turmeric called ‘The Wellness Booster’. Globally people are more aware of what they are consuming and are looking for healthier options over artificial sodas and juices with high sugar content and preservatives.”

Davy sells the cane juice online under the JamaicaDeli.com brand and sees only opportunity in setting up roots in Jamaica.

“There is so much room for growth and development here in Jamaica, and I’ve been working steadily over the past few years to build up Jamaica Cold Pressed Juices’ distribution and marketing channels. The pandemic hasn’t deterred my growth. It has just allowed me to focus more on expanding the market share. If Jamaicans fully appreciated the commercial power of ‘Brand Jamaica’ internationally, the realisation would be transformative for the many, not just a few,” he says.

Cold-pressed juice has been a growing movement first among fitness enthusiasts for many years. The cold-pressed juice market has grown exponentially as studies show that the market will grow to be valued at around US$300 million within the next five years, with key drivers being an increased awareness of its health benefits.

Jamaica Cold Pressed Cane Juices are sold in select HiLo Food Stores and Progressive Grocers supermarkets islandwide. Internationally sold on Amazon.com and Etsy platforms. To learn more about Jamaica Cold Pressed Juices, follow @jamaicacoldpress on Instagram.