How did you land the job?
I'll never forget the interview with Mr. Rolf Simmonds, GM of JP Tropical Foods and Mr. Don Witter, our then HR director (who has since passed on) — both fantastic persons I'm grateful to have met. It was a frank, open discussion. I remember being at ease as we talked about the company's goals and mine, to see how well we matched. JP was looking to strengthen its relationship with consumers and take the brand into new spaces using tools such as social media, as well as build out its innovation pipeline. The company wanted someone to focus on this full-time, and I was definitely up to the challenge to "change the game."
I was consulting with a small creative agency at the time, and with my previous experience in retail I understood some of the gaps and how I could creatively come up with sound marketing solutions. While I chose the job, the job also chose me. I saw in Mr. Simmonds and Mr. Witter a team I could grow with — these guys knew their stuff and were willing to share so I could be empowered to deliver. Also, although I'm naturally very diligent, I do like to keep it comfortable and casual. Therefore I wanted a work environment that offered the freedom to get the job done while respecting individuality. So once they confirmed that it didn't have to be 'Casual Fridays' to wear sneakers and a company T-shirt, I was sold!
How long have you been in the job?
Wow, I've been in this job for just about two years now and it has been quite a learning experience working with this small but very dedicated team. We make it a point of duty to have fun on the job so it feels like time has certainly flown very fast. At the same time, it's been so rich with experience that it oftentimes feels I've been here much longer. This has been a period of intense growth for me and for JP Tropical Foods, as we work hard to continuously position ourselves as the number one Jamaican snack company.
What's great about your job?
The best thing about my job is that I'm allowed to be creative in areas from developing packaging of new products (like Krunch Time snacks and the extension of our 30 gram line) to communication and campaign design such as St. Mary's 'Wi Nice'. As long as my projects support our business objectives and our values, I'm happy for the opportunity I have to put programmes in place that will grow the business. I want to do things that are innovative, such as our recent creative collaboration with the Edna Manley College in our 'Snack 4 Gold' promotion. Everyone who's seen our work is impressed that we've taken the initiative to promote local products in new ways with great talent grown right here. I also love that I can influence positive change in a short period of time, as decision-making is such a speedy process in our nimble and supportive commercial team. There's never a boring day at JP Tropical Foods! I get to interact and communicate with a wide cross section of persons from all walks of life; from vendors to high-powered executives. In addition, I work with fresh and processed foods which we grow and produce at our own farm and snack factory in St. Mary. So between Mother Nature and other factors within or outside of our control, I've learnt to quickly respond to an ever changing high-pressure environment, while delivering on our objectives.
Tell us something we might not know about JP Foods.
Some persons may not know that the farm and snack factory for JP Tropical Foods in Jamaica is right in Agualtavale, St. Mary. In fact I get asked that question a lot. Also, on this St. Mary farm we're now strengthening our JP Tropical pineapple programme, which will be in full effect in 2013 when we aim to remove seasonality from the supply of pineapples locally. The year-round availability of our pineapples next year will keep Jamaica in full supply of this great-tasting, easy-to-peel variety, and we're really excited about that.
Where can consumers find out more about your brand?
Consumers can check out our facebook page www.facebook.com/st.marysbananachips, follow us on twitter @stmaryschips and visit our website www.jptropicalfoods.com. We frequently get telephone calls at our commercial office at 926-3503-7 from consumers who ask various questions, one such being "What does 'Kettle Cooked' mean?" — which is the home-style batch-frying method we use to prepare our snacks.
Banana Chocolate Mousse
(Photo: Franz Marzouca courtesy of General Foods Supermarket)
6 oz chocolate fudge, melted
3 JP bananas, medium size (reserve 4 slices of banana for garnish)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp lime juice
4 tsp powdered gelatin
3 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream/whipping cream
Spoon layer of melted chocolate fudge into the bottom of the dessert dishes and chill for 30 minutes.
Place JP bananas, sugar, vanilla, lime juice in a blender and purée.
Sprinkle gelatin over water and allow to soften for approximately two minutes. Heat gelatin in a water bath until it is completely dissolved; add to the fruit purée and mix well.
Beat cream until very soft peaks form and fold into the banana mixture.
Spoon mixture over the chilled chocolate in the dessert dishes and cover and chill another four to six hours.
Optional: Garnish with chocolate or strawberry syrup, sliced JP bananas, whipped cream and fresh mint leaves.
Quick Fruit Tart
Store-bought mini tat shells (weighing approximately 30 to 40g)
Store-bought whipped cream
60 g JP fresh pineapple
60g fresh banana
60g fresh strawberries
In conveyor-belt style, lay out the tart shells working from left to right.
Place a 1/2 teaspoon of coulis first, then fill with whipped cream, top with mini slices of fruits and garnish with a sprinkle of icing sugar and serve immediately or refrigerate for half an hour.
100 g fresh starwberries
40g granulated sugar
To make the coulis, blend all the ingredients together and place in a pot.
Over medium heat bring to a boil and cook for eight minutes.
Cool, then strain the liquid into a container and put aside until ready to use.