Spur Tree goes after region
Spice company inks deal with Massy to also expand local presence

SPUR Tree Spices has inked a deal with Massy Distributors to help the company to build market share and brand equity in the region.

Spur Tree Spices currently exports directly to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, and Australia. This new partnership is expected to open the door of possibility to some other Caribbean territories where Massy has both a distribution and retail footprint.

"The alliance that we are forming is to go beyond Jamaica and to first explore the countries that Massy operates in in the Caribbean and then extend beyond that," Albert Bailey, CEO of Spur Tree Spices, told the Jamaica Observer.

Massy has been on a drive to expand its reach in the Caribbean. Bailey says he expects the Spur Tree Spices brand to be carried along wherever Massy goes.

Janine Chen (left), CEO of Massy Jamaica, and Albert Bailey,CEO of Spur Tree Spices, sign distribution agreement.

"This is just the genesis of that relationship," he added. "Massy was selected as a strategic partner because of their presence in the Caribbean and their commitment to work with Spur Tree to expand the brand into the Caribbean region."

Massy currently has its stores in Barbados, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and its home country of Trinidad and Tobago. It also has distribution networks in those countries and Jamaica. The company is also setting up distribution networks to reach other Caribbean islands in which it doesn't currently has a presence.

"Regional growth can and will come from our already existing robust Caribbean integrated retail businesses model," Janine Chen, vice-president and CEO of Massy Jamaica, told the Caribbean Business Report.

"With over 50 retail locations owned and operated by Massy, our possible future together is exciting," Chen added.

.Some of the products produced by Spur Tree Spices.

Under the signed agreement, Massy will also deepen the local availability of the company's product range to penetrate wholesales, club stores and mom and pop locations.

However, immediately, Chen said, "Massy's immediate action is satisfying the wholesale market in Jamaica, which represents the largest retail segment in the country. Accessibility to all will form a critical pillar of our distribution strategy. We love that Spur Tree, though an excellent product, has both affordable price points and adaptable package sizes. The line takes into consideration the buying behaviours of all Jamaicans. You can get everything from single-use pouches for daily cooking to bulk sizes if you run a cook shop, restaurant or hotel kitchen, and everything in between."

The company anticipates achieving robust sales growth for Spur Tree Spices who is well positioned to reach a broader customer base, deepen existing relationships and establish inroads with new key retail outlets.

Currently, Spur Tree Spices products are distributed to supermarkets in Jamaica by Frozen Delights. That arrangement is expected to continue, while Massy will focus on what is called the "down trade" in the distribution business.

To cover that segment, Spur Tree Spices has been directly selling to users of its products such as pan chicken chefs and restaurants.

Some of the products produced by Spur Tree Spices.

"Our assessment is that the down trade market is bigger than the traditional market. We tried to cover it with our van sales programme over the last two to three years. But, ideally, we are manufacturers first and distribution is not what we want to focus on. So when the opportunity came for a company like Massy to take over that portfolio, that is something that we were more than willing to hand over to them along with the listing of customers we created over the last three years in that trade and they will handle that."

Spur Tree Spices currently earns only 10 per cent of its revenues in the local market and wants to double that percentage in the next two years as part of a strategy to diversify its revenue stream.

In the first quarter of 2022 ending March 31, Spur Tree Spices reported a 41 per cent increase in sales revenue to the sum of $237.13 million, up from the $168.48 million reported in the same quarter of 2021.

In December 2021, the company opened an initial public offering (IPO) through which it successfully raised $335.3 million; announcing plans to expand its offerings and build capacity. The company has since been working on strategic initiatives focused on growing revenues to include introducing new items under the Spur Tree brand as the company transitions from a spice and sauce provider to a food manufacturing operation and expanding its reach in export markets.

"Our real base is around seasonings and sauces, but we have started a transition in the last few years to go beyond that. We have products like our festival mix which is not offered locally, ackee and callaloo, we have a juice line that really indicated we have started that process of transitioning into a comprehensive food company, not just seasonings and sauces."

"Over the next two or three years, we will continue to aggressively build out that segment by bringing on a number of new products. Those will also be available for Massy to distribute in the local market and regional markets," Bailey concluded.

The Spur Tree brand will be on showcase in August at both the Massy-sponsored JCDC Independence Village and the returned Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show.

Spur Tree specialises in the production of premium-quality, all-in-one seasonings and sauces. The company has been manufacturing for some 16 years.

Spur Tree Spices differentiates itself from the plethora of Jamaican wet seasonings on the shelf with novel local favourites like oxtail, brown stew and curry. Bailey beams, "We source all our natural raw ingredients locally from our farmers in St Elizabeth, in Manchester, in St Mary, all over Jamaica. We take the best of Jamaica and prepare it and package for customers," Bailey was quoted as saying in a release on the deal with Massy Distributors.

BY DASHAN HENDRICKS Business content manager hendricksd@jamaicaobserver.com

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