Tortuga expands with new products for DR and Mexico

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

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TORTUGA Caribbean Rum Cake Jamaica Limited, a subsidiary of Jamaica Producers (JP) Group, has rolled out two specialty rum cakes for the tourist retail market in the Dominican Republican and Mexico.

Launched under the brands Tortuga Mamajuana Rum Cake and Mexican Vanilla Rum Cake, the products are aimed at tapping into the multi million US-dollar tourist markets in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and in Cozumel and Cancun, Mexico.

The cakes add to Tortuga's line of “provenance products” started by the manufacturer when it consolidated its Montego Bay, Jamaica and Barbados manufacturing outlets into a 14,000 square foot bakery at Retirement Cresent, Kingston, in 2016.

Mamajuana is a drink from the Dominican Republic that is concocted by allowing rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. The taste is said to be similar to port wine. The Mexican Vanilla Rum Cake, on the other hand, is inspired from distinct and bold flavours born purely out of the Mexican vanilla bean.

“Over six million people come to Punta Cana yearly so the Mamajuana was developed to tap that market. In Mexico, Cozumel and Cancun also have huge visitor arrivals,” managing director of Tropical Group, David Martin told the Jamaica Observer.

After pumping US$3.5 million into the commissioning of its bakery in Kingston, Tortuga resumed production of its rum cakes, rum, and other gourmet products — including rum-flavoured coffee, sauces, rum fudge, chocolate rum turtles with sea salt, and rum balls.

The new factory, however, allowed the company to increase production numbers tenfold beyond its former bakery in Bogue, Montego Bay. As the company sought to secure market space throughout the Caribbean, it launched the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Rum Cake in Jamaica, Tortuga Grate Cakes for Barbados, and later the Florida Key Lime Rum Cake.

“Another provenance product that we did last year was called cake bites. All those initiatives are intended at growing the business,” Martin said.

To date, Tortuga is said to have recorded year-on-year growth of 10 per cent, led by the expansion of rum cake portfolio.

The company is currently designing products targeted to specific accounts and trading partners in Southern USA and in Central America.

“In a few weeks we should have a deal for distribution in southern USA. For Central America, same thing. Mexican Vanilla is partly being viewed for our Central America objective but there is another project that we are working on in Central America [which] is even more bullish,” Martin said. He was, however, tight-lipped on the details.

Tortuga's business model sees the company strategically focused on the travel retail market across the Caribbean — including most major air and cruise ports, principal hotel and gift locations, and over 100 cruise ships.

Today, the bakery's operations extend across the Caribbean with manufacturing facilities in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, a distribution facility in Florida, as well as a commercial presence in Barbados.

— Karena Bennett

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