30-year battle pays dividends for GraceKennedy
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday February 8, 2012 - After a 30-year battle to get into major supermarket chains overseas, GraceKennedy is finally reaping success.
The popular Jamaican brand can now be found on the shelves of major supermarket chains including Publix, Walmart and Target.
GraceKennedy also plans to expand the Caribbean brand to the US west coast, in particular California, with its Grace Coconut Water.
Group chief executive officer Don Wehby said recent findings indicate “that Hispanics in the US are very attracted to our products such as our sauces, juices and coconut water, so that is a market that we can say there is going to be good growth in the future.”
He noted that informal surveys done by the 90-year-old conglomerate showed that visitors to Jamaica sought out the Grace brand in Florida. “That is something we can really work on having the tourism industry being really an export sector where we can have our products aligned with our visitors here,” he said.
To cater to this demand, Wehby said the company was seeking to appoint a distributor to promote the GraceKennedy brand as there are plans to make a significant investment to spread the company’s wings even further afield.
Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mike Ranglin, said a lot of time was being spent building relationships with overseas customers. “In a lot of cases it is a relationship at the local level, and as we get more important, we become bigger suppliers where we go into central warehousing and get distributed across the chain, and I think that is how it will continue to growth,” he said.
Ranglin also acknowledged the fact that it was not that easy to enter new markets as it was difficult to make contact with major suppliers, and once in, required to produce 100 per cent reliability.