Rainforest Caribbean Limited reported this week that it has ramped up exports to 15 markets in the Caribbean.
Marketing Manager Bethany Young told the Jamaica Observer that amongst robust performers is frozen fruits for which demand has seen a "manifold increase". She said, "We continue to serve the English, French, and Dutch Caribbean islands. Our exports average 10- and 40-foot containers monthly around the world. Our Caribbean food exports are a big growth segment of our business. Most supermarkets and hotels/restaurants across the region carry our products."
Young said, "The addition of frozen fruits to our product portfolio has been a tremendous success. The range is a natural fit for the Rainforest brand because the products are healthy, delicious, and of the highest quality."
Rainforest Caribbean is a food manufacturer and supplier with headquarters in Jamaica and operations across the Caribbean in St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines, Belize, and Barbados. The company exports to over 30 countries across the globe.
The company's venture into new food lines has been facilitated by sizeable cold storage infrastructure, which includes over 20-million pounds of cold storage "and growing", Young states.
Rainforest has two warehouse and distribution centres in Jamaica – its headquarters in Montego Bay and its facility in Kingston – and recently commissioned state-of-the-art distribution centres in St Lucia and Barbados.
The recent expansion in Eastern Caribbean facilities has allowed the company to introduce the frozen fruit product line to markets across Caricom.
Rainforest Caribbean opened a state-of-the-art processing facility in Kingston in May 2021 to bolster agro-processing capabilities. The 12,000 square foot facility, which is outfitted with modern grinders and hydraulic presses, currently produces bammy for domestic and export markets. The facility will target other value-added products using locally grown crops.
Adjacent to the bammy factory, Rainforest is building an additional 12,000 square foot facility to expand production into locally sourced pigs, goats, and cattle. Currently Rainforest processes 100 heads of domestic livestock per month and the new facility will triple capacity, Young outlined.
The company also now has an "internationally accredited food processing facility", says Young, which produces burgers and breaded products from a variety of proteins, including beef, turkey, bacon, and seafood. Rainforest supplies several major quick serve restaurants (QSRs) with these products.
Rainforest's Kingston facility has pickling capabilities and produces pickled pig tail, mackerel, and salt beef for the local market. Recent additions to Rainforest's product catalogue include potato wedges and sweet potato fries and wedges.
The company has also added mackerel, corned beef, and Vienna sausages to product portfolios and continues to expand its vegetable line with the addition of various frozen mixed vegetable blends and corn.
Young told the Caribbean Business Report, "Our growing range of products are sold in Jamaica and exported to 15 markets across Caricom. Rainforests's frozen fruit line, which was added in 2019, has experienced a manifold increase in sales since then."
Rainforest's frozen fruit line was launched with seven offerings: berry blend, whole strawberries, sliced strawberries, blueberries, pineapple chunks, mango chunks, and lemon slices. In 2021 two more blends, Tropical Sensation and Green Machine, were added. Green Machine contains a mix of kale, kiwi, mango, and pineapple, while Tropical Sensation has passionfruit, mango, pineapple, and strawberries.
"There are no additives, preservatives, or sugar added to any of the fruits, making them a healthy dietary choice," Young said.
Young continued, "Consumer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we have seen consumers use them in a variety of applications, from smoothies and shakes to baking and sauces. While our target market was initially health-conscious, young professionals looking for a quick grab-and-go meal, that has expanded to include families with kids, persons over the age of 65 with health concerns, cafes, delis, and gyms that sell smoothies to name a few. In addition, the pandemic and the resulting increased interest in health and boosting immunity also helped the growth of the line."
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