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JBDC comes up big for small businesses

Published:Thursday | May 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer
A visitor to the Things Jamaican shop at Devon House, St Andrew takes time to read the nutrition panel on a packet of Granola Cereal And Snack mix made from sweet potato and marketed under the Things Jamaican brand.

The rich, attractive look of its Jamaica Harvest brand of agro-processed foods - sauces, seasonings, preserves and condiments made especially for Things Jamaican - is design- specific, Janine Taylor, manager for the marketing services unit at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, proudly proclaims.

"Our aim is to position them on the gourmet food market. They are not the run-of-the-mill, off-the-shelf products. Once you are going to compete in that market , then the look and feel of the brand, everything is important to those customers. So we wanted to make sure that we were coming into the marketplace as we should - based on the value the product has," she told The Gleaner.

Jamaica Harvest represents the successful implementation of the value-chain process, but which the company has taken well beyond the traditional areas of production, marketing and provision of after-sales service.

"We supported that by investing in branding and the packaging with 12 producers/manufacturers contributing to the line. There are some products that the formulation belongs to the producer and there are some that we own, and there will be other products that will be coming out , where either we own the formulation or the producer, but clear-cut contracts dictate who is owner and who is not," the manager explained.

"In terms of the branding, the packaging is JBDC owned because the brand is owned by JBDC and so we have to protect the integrity of the brand. So in terms of the production process, our engineers go in and do their quality checks. We have partnered with Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) to ensure that all the contributors to this line are BSJ-certified and all batches have met the regulatory requirements."




The eye-catching line of flour- breadfruit, sweet potato and cassava - has had tongues wagging, with pumpkin and some flavours in the experimental stage. These have been informed by feedback from customers who have been asking for more variety, Taylor divulged.

"We also have a range of dried spices and if you noticed, the typical production methodology for the line is dehydration. It's not the sole one, but dehydration in the context of Jamaica is good because we can use solar energy to do it. It's manageable and it's limited processing, so this is as close to the ground as you can get really," she said.

The ongoing response from customer remains critical to developing new products, as well as improving on old ones, peanut brittle and chocolate being the standard-bearers for the snack and tea lines, respectively.

Taylor served up a new twist to the marketing of the latter: "That line is going to be really tapping into our culinary heritage and making it contemporary. That's essentially what we are attempting to do, taking the old and bringing it forward, also making it relevant to the trend in the marketplace."

For persons suffering from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which gluten causes the body to attack the small intestine, causing lots of bloating, abdominal pain, chronic diarrhoea, weight loss and fatigue, Jamaica Harvest offers healthful options, with its breadfruit flour at the top of the list.