JF Mills to roll out new products

Business reporter

Friday, October 12, 2018

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Archer Daniels Midlands Company (ADM), a US-based flour milling facility which acquired the Jamaica Flour Mills (JF Mills) 21 years ago as part of its retail brand, is looking to capture even more market share with the roll- out of new products.

Plans are already in place for JF Mills to introduce to the local and international markets a sweet potato pudding and banana bread mix in time for the festive season. What's more, ADM wants to make available to consumers a gluten-free powder in response to market demands for specialty products.

“Historically, ADM is not a retail company, so it's not something that we haven't given emphasis to. Now we are looking at more retail and, therefore, we are looking at more offerings so that we can offer consumers more alternatives,” Managing Director Derrick Nembhard told the Jamaica Observer during a rededication ceremony for the JF Mills plant in Rockfort, St Andrew, on Wednesday.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, JF Mills last introduced to the market the Johnny Cake mix to its line of cake mixes, bakery mixes and breakfast cereals. While tight-lipped on overall production numbers, Nembhard reasoned that the plant, as it stands, has the capacity to manage production of the new baking mixes.

He however noted that once ADM establishes roughly three of the products, the company will be looking at additional investments into the mix plant to increase capacity as the demand grows.

“The sweet potato pudding is something that we are doing in conjunction with local entities. The University of the West Indies has a pilot project in St Elizabeth, where they will grow the product, dry it, mill it into flour and then we use that flour in the processing of the sweet potato mix,” the managing director explained.

Located on Windward Road, JF Mills began operations in 1968 as the producer of bakery flour and animal feed. The company later entered an agreement with Pillsbury Company of Minnesota, USA, before changing hands in April 1992, when Pillsbury sold its shares in JFM to Caldon Finance Merchant Bank.

In 1997, another change came when ADM acquired 100 per cent ownership of JF Mills. Today JF Mills is known as the largest ADM owned flour-milling facility in the Caribbean.

ADM has solidified market share in 170 countries, including the Unites States, United Kingdom and Canada, with food ingredients, animal feed, industrial products and renewable energy. Its distribution network stretches across Florida, the tri-state area, and the United Kingdom.

“Any line extensions that we have, as far as offerings are concerned, those are either in response to what the distributors want, because they have had demand from their customers who are usually in the West Indian diaspora. Or the new offerings can be products we believe people may want just because it's a product that they grew up with,” Nembhard told the Caribbean Business Report.

As for keeping up with competition from the local market, “competition for any market is always a good thing; the biggest beneficiary is always going to be the consumer,” he said.

“JF Mills retail line is a line that we've had for many years, so it's not something that we are doing in response to competition. We are always looking at doing different products and extending the line.”

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