Food conglomerate GraceKennedy has entered the retail sugar market, while Seprod is two weeks away from launching its product – the latest developments in the rapidly changing way sweetener is marketed in the space of only one year.
At that time, in 2015, the only known branded sugar product was Jamaica Gold, which is sold by Jamaica Cane Product Sales (JCPS). Now there are at least seven other players with their own brands, based on a Sunday business examination of refined or granulated products and brown sugar.
Checks also revealed at least two specialty sugars, a powdered coconut sweetener seen on retail shelves and an imported cane product specifically marketed for health conscious people.
The review of market entrants was by no means exhaustive, but it includes large companies like Seprod and GraceKennedy, as well as little-known companies Palm Rose Commodity, DK Processors Jamaica, Sue Pat Sales, HarveDan Marketing Limited, and Green. Hills Distributors.
Seprod will introduce, by this week, a 50-kilogram bulk pack of brown sugar the size that sugar is typically distributed in for repackaging by grocery stores. The company will then launch its own retail packs of “Golden Grove Pure Jamaican Cane Sugar” in sizes of 1 kg, 2 kg and 500 grams “in an additional two weeks,” said Seprod chief executive Richard Pandohie.
Seprod, as the owner of Golden Grove Sugar Factory, announced last September a $ 120 million investment in the plant and packaging equipment to prepare the St Thomas-based plant for the launch of its products. packed this month.
Seprod manufactures sugar in Golden Grove in St Thomas, but has lost money on the business. Its foray into retailing and marketing its own sugar production is aimed at reducing some of these losses.
Golden Grove’s packaged sugar, a sample of which was shared with Sunday Business, is the highest quality brown sugar from local processing plants seen so far.
Indeed, much of the retail sugar goes unchecked, but as the market takes off, state regulators have announced plans to develop standards for the products.
Typically, a 500 gram packet of sugar, which is just over a pound, sells for between $ 80 and $ 85, while similar-sized refined sugar sells for about double.
GraceKennedy is not new to the sugar market and has been distributing the bagged merchandise for years, but these sales were primarily to hotel companies. Now, the conglomerate has entered the consumer market with a refined sugar product under the Grace brand that has so far been seen on Hi-Lo supermarket shelves. It was presented last November.
Andrea Coy, CEO of GraceKennedy Foods Jamaica, said the company aims to triple its sugar-related revenue by 2017, but has been silent on the size of current sales.
All refined sugar sold in Jamaica is imported, but data on the size of this segment of the retail market was not available at the time of going to press.
Coy, without naming the factory, says that Grace granulated sugar is packaged in Jamaica “at an approved factory and is distributed with other Grace food products throughout the island.”
The Grace product is also available in packs of 500 grams, 1kg and 2kg. DK Processors Jamaica also sells refined sugar and icing sugar under the Diamond Krystal brand, Sue Pat distributes refined sugar and icing sugar under the Paradise brand, HarveDan sells an icing sugar called Bakers Marc, while Green Hills Distributors sells a product. imported evaporated cane juice, which is marketed as a health food product and is currently sold in Kingston and Ocho Rios.
Palm Rose currently markets brown sugar under the Royal Rose name, but plans to expand the line to include refined sugar “by the end of the year,” company representative Shade Bulli said. Royal Rose made its market debut last October, she said.
Palm Rose has started packaging Royal Rose at its factory in Newport West, Kingston, after investing in its own packaging machine, Bulli said. Its input sugar is supplied by JCPS.
Indeed, JCPS, Pan Caribbean Sugar Company and now Golden Grove are the only three sugar companies licensed to market cane-based sugar produced in factories across Jamaica.
Last year, JCPS and Pan Caribbean together distributed 49,000 tonnes of brown sugar, which is 4,000 tonnes less than the volume supplied in 2014, said JCPS Managing Director Karl James.
JCPS has sold 6,000 tonnes of sugar under its Jamaica Gold brand over the past three years, or about 2,000 tonnes per year, the sugar distributor said.
James’ consumer operation distributes both imported brown and refined sugar products, both of which are packaged on behalf of JCPS by Caribbean Depot Limited under contract.
JCPS was initially Caribbean Depot’s only customer, but now the plant is also co-packing for another sugar trader, whom company chief Michael Jureidini has declined to name.
Jureidini reaffirmed that Caribbean Depot will invest US $ 400,000 this year in equipment and upgrades to position itself for even more business, an investment plan first disclosed last year.