Caribbean Export supports SMEs from the Dominican Republic and Haiti to present their products at the Salon Du Chocolat 2022 in Paris, France.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti were jointly present at the important international event Salon du Chocolat 2022 in Paris, France, which took place from October 28 to November 1, 2022. This is the largest event dedicated to the chocolate industry with more than 200 exhibitors from different countries filling the more than 20,000 square meters of Pavilion 5 at Porte de Versailles.

Participating companies from Haiti were AYITIKA SA, cocoa and chocolate producers, and the Federation of Cocoa Cooperatives of the North (FECCANO), a federation of eight cooperatives producing cocoa in northern Haiti. Participating from the Dominican Republic were Chocolala SRL, a cooperative of women cocoa and chocolate producers in Puerto Plata; Grupo CONACADO, one of the country’s largest cocoa producers and processors with more than 33 years of experience; ProAgro, a medium-sized company expanding into international markets with its production of chocolate powder and its La Criollita brand; and Recursos Globales, a family business noted for its CacaoMae brand that produces chocolate and other cocoa-derived products.

These six companies were just a few of the many that make up the Binational Cocoa/Chocolate Value Chain that Caribbean Export launched as part of the actions it implements within the framework of the Trade and Private Sector Support Component of the Binational Cooperation Program between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This initiative is part of the actions of the expanded strategy that seeks to improve the private-private binational dialogue, as well as to improve the competitiveness of Haitian and Dominican companies with a view to consolidating institutional cooperation between the two countries. The actions of this program are supported technically and financially by the European Union through the 11th European Union Program. European Development Fund. Caribbean Export’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Leo Naut reported that: “The Binational Cocoa/Chocolate Value Chain covers the entire spectrum of the industry, with cocoa producers, cocoa processors and renowned chocolatiers among its beneficiaries. At the Salon du Chocolat, the participating companies received a great reception from the public present, and have also had the opportunity to establish ties with potential business partners in the European Union and other relevant markets”.

Taking on the World’s Biggest Food Fair

This week the Caribbean Export team are showcasing fourteen Caribbean brands to exhibit at the world’s largest biannual trade fair SIAL in Paris, France.  Expecting more than 310,000 visitors over the five days from 14th – 19th October the Caribbean companies will showcase under the Absolutely Caribbean pavilion.

Exhibiting companies include new brands such as Only Coconuts by Precision Global Inc., who’s 30,000 sq. ft. state of the art processing facility in Guyana, certified non-GMO and HACCP produce a range of coconut-based products that are 100% pure and natural.

With a fresh new look VincyFresh (formerly Winfresh) continue to present their authentic marinades, sauces and condiments and promise to help you ‘LiveWell!’ by using the finest of ingredients that are grown in St Vincent and the Grenadines rich volcanic soil.

Other sauce and condiments producers also presenting include Superb Blend by Jays Enterprises from Barbados, Flauriels organic and natural range from St. Kitts and Nevis and natural turmeric paste Truly Turmeric from Belize by Naledo.  Surinamese producer GOM Food Industries are also offering their gluten free, vegan, Halal and no MSG sauces for export.

For the chocolatiers, Great Taste Award 2022 winner Cacoa Sainte Lucia is pulling in the crowds who are looking to try the award winning 100% cacoa vegan chocolate and Premium Dark Chocolate Almonds.  In addition, Haitian producer Choko Lakay ferments cocoa beans making them darker and sweeter in flavour with a smooth profile.

Pairing nicely with chocolate is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee by Country Traders.  Arguably the worlds finest coffee, this silky smooth, well-balanced, full-bodied coffee is available for export and sources it’s beans directly from local farmers in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.

When it comes to drinks, the Caribbean is widely known as the birthplace of rum and whilst we welcome premium rums from the Dominican Republic with Chicaron (a cinnamon rum), J&J Spirits and St. Lucia Distillers, we have women-owned V’Toria Rhonda Vineyard & Winery.

V’Toria Rhonda offers six innovative, exotic, tropical fruit wines blended with various grape varietals.

And after sampling all the food and drink available from the 200 countries at SIAL, be sure to check out the 100% natural herbal dietary supplements brought to the market by Natural Organic’s LLC.  Their supplements aim to detoxify the body, fight against inflammation, regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol, amongst others.

Turmeric Trend Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

Turmeric has been in the top echelon of the ‘trending foods’ chart for the past five years and is still one of the most sought-after ingredients by health-conscious consumers.

The “golden spice” has been used for centuries in traditional and herbal medicine, as well as Indian and Asian cuisine, but its global popularity has risen in recent times because of its proven health benefits as a so-called ‘nutraceutical’.

Public interest in the spice’s ability to ease inflammation, improve liver function, relieve chronic pain, and aid in digestion, has led to it being sought-after as a supplement and in a range of food products.

Turmeric and its main active ingredient, curcumin, can now be found as an added ingredient in several items on supermarket shelves such as sauces, smoothies, soups, teas, salad dressings, and even packaged goods like cereal. It can also be used as part of a rub for meat or fish and its distinctive yellowy, orange colour adds vibrancy to cheese, mustard, and dried seasonings, without affecting the taste.

Turmeric’s emergence as a ‘food to watch’ started when Google Trends data recorded a 300% increase in searches for it between February 2012 and February 2016. This led to the spice being listed as the number one food trend in the search giant’s ‘Food Trends 2016: U.S’ report along with other foods which are also still garnering attention including jackfruit, cauliflower rice, and sourdough bread.

Since 2016, turmeric has been consistently mentioned in the ‘trending food’ conversation and that is not expected to end anytime soon. In fact, research by the CBI dated January 2022 found that “worldwide and also in Europe, the consumption of curcuma longa (aka turmeric) is forecast to increase by more than 10% per year in the next five years.”

The CBI added: “The trend of healthier diets is likely to remain the leading driver of food market developments in the next decades. This trend will positively impact demand for spices such as curcuma longa.”

Sourcing turmeric in its purest form is one way to make sure you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to demand. The spice is grown in various parts of the world, including the Caribbean, and is most potent when it is fresh and uncultivated.

Belizean-based company called Naledo has a head start in this regard as it was the world’s first manufacturer of wildcrafted, whole root ‘Truly Turmeric’ paste.

Founded by mother and daughter Umeeda and Nareena Switlo in 2016, Naledo is a social enterprise that works directly with over 300 small-scale growers based in Toledo, Belize to create a product that is sustainably produced from the forest to the table with minimal impact on the environment.

Naledo has won widespread recognition and awards for its 100% natural turmeric products, which also include fresh juices and even a skincare line. It has also earned admiration for its commitment to pay its farmers six times more than the fair-trade price for their produce.

The company will be taking part in the upcoming Speciality & Fine Food Fair from September 5th-6th 2022 at Olympia, London as part of the ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ pavilion comprising of small businesses supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union.

At the event, Naledo will showcase its flagship ‘Truly Turmeric’ product which comes in four sizes and two flavours – original and black pepper. The ingredients list for the original flavour is whole root turmeric, cold pressed coconut oil, fresh lime juice, and sea salt. Black pepper cultivated in Belizean forests is added to the black pepper range.

The variety of turmeric grown by Naledo’s team is called Allepey and it has the strongest colour and deepest flavour of all turmeric types. Allepey normally has around 5% curcuminoids but Naledo’s turmeric has 7.6% curcuminoids, according to the company’s website.

Naledo’s ‘Truly Turmeric’ paste is currently sold in over 1,000 retailers in Canada, America, UK, and Europe and online.

The taste, flavour, and story behind Naledo have made it stand out from the crowded turmeric market which has been further propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the global health crisis took hold in February and March 2020, Google Trends data has highlighted a 670% increase in worldwide searches for “food” and “immune system”. And the global nutraceuticals industry is predicted to be worth $722 billion (US) by 2027 with sales in the immune boosting foods and beverages segment expected to surpass $17 billion (US) by 2025

The public’s interest in turmeric and its health benefits is therefore not likely to wane anytime soon, so it seems likely that this ‘trend’ might turn into more than just a passing phase.

Absolutely Ready for Speciality & Fine Food Fair

With just seven days until the doors open at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair 2022, ten absolutely Caribbean companies are ready to present their range of produce over two days at Olympia, London from 5-6 September 2022.

The authentic Caribbean companies include Naledo (Belize), Superb Blend (Barbados) Old Duppy (Barbados), Flauriel (St Kitts and Nevis), Pringa’s (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Shavuot (Jamaica), St Lucia Distillers (St Lucia), Kalembu (The Dominican Republic) and the Antillia Brewing Company (St Lucia), CariBelle Foods (Trinidad and Tobago).

Showcasing under an ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ branded pavilion the companies are being supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency in collaboration with the European Union and aim to attract leading European buyers and distributors.

On the 5th of September at 11:30am Caribbean Export will host a guided tour for media of the stand providing an opportunity for press to get a first-hand look at the products that have been gaining interest.

In fact, whole root turmeric paste producer ‘Naledo’ has had their Truly Turmeric product selected by top Chef Consultant Steve Walpole to be used in the ‘Taste the Trends Kitchen’ on the 6th of September at 10am.

Visitors to the stand can also enter a competition to win a trip to Saint Lucia courtesy of St Lucia Distillers, and the Saint Lucia Tourism Board.

Join us at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair and take a journey through the islands of the Caribbean to discover the range of products from fiery hot pepper sauces, flavoursome natural and organic condiments to alcoholic beverages including Caribbean craft beer, rum and mamajuana!  Also discover wild craft turmeric products, natural teas and free from products.

We’ll see you there!

Win a trip image

Caribbean Export Supports Research into the Development of Industrial Policy in the Caribbean

At the heart of the development of the Caribbean is the sustainable industrialisation of the region to achieve economic growth and transformation.  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9, calls for inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) and to realise many of the socioeconomic and environmental objectives identified in the 2030 Agenda from Sustainable Development the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) must be guided by an industrial policy framework.

Industrial policy falls under the portfolio of H.E. Chanderikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname and was a focal topic for discussion July’s Heads of Government meeting. 

At the request of the Government of Suriname, Caribbean Export rapidly assisted the facilitation of a study on the ‘Status of Industrialization across Key Export Sectors for CARICOM Countries’.  This study provided a full review of industrial policy implementation across CARICOM countries, explored the key export sectors, their level of industrialisation and impact on economic growth, employment and export earning; data analysis of current export products, export markets, labour and industrial productions and provided recommendations for regional and national industrial policy.  The findings of this study will assist CARICOM Governments and policy makers to develop strategies and further develop the industry policy framework for the Caribbean. 

The study showed that CARICOM economies are at a crossroad requiring a regional industrial policy that is designed in a manner that builds on the existing comparative advantages of the region.  Further it is recommended that the policy promotes greater intra-regional and extra-regional trade together with further diversification of the goods and services produced in the Caribbean.  Importantly, production of goods must be environmentally sustainable with the benefits from industrial policy being shared equally between countries.

The impact of climate change and COVID-19 has laid bare the need for drastic energy transition towards sustainable solutions and the rise of disruptive technologies are rapidly advancing manufacturing and digitalization in key sectors such as agriculture.

ProNET – Building Capacity of businesses

In 2010 Caribbean Export in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) launched the modular programme ProNET.

Originally geared towards manufacturing enterprises who want to develop their business and become more competitive, with nine modules in business strategy, quality management, production,  product development, knowledge management, human resource management and financial management, the ProNET programme has since been expanded with a new module focused on energy management and renewable energy.

The programme is based on an Experiential Learning Methodology, and is a case study based and driven by practical examples and assignments using techniques such as group work and structured learning exercises, open-ended discussion, brainstorming sessions and field work.

We are now looking to review the course and update it according to your needs.

If you’ve participated in a ProNET course your input is very important to us and invite you to complete this survey.

We appreciate your time and your feedback!

Scaling-up Support to Suriname

Suriname – located in the north-eastern coast of South America, is one of the fifteen countries that make up CARIFORUM and has been the location for our executive team this week.

Our Executive Director, Deodat Maharaj together with Damie Sinanan, Manager for Competitiveness and Export Promotion held high-level meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business & International Cooperation – Min. Albert Ramchand Ramdin; the Min. of Finance and Planning – Armand Achibersing and the Minister of Economic Affairs, Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation – Min. Saskia Walden (MBA, CFE) to present the new strategic direction of the Agency and build relations to support private sector development in Suriname.

From left: Damie Sinanan, Min. Walden and Deodat Maharaj

Caribbean Export, with funding from the European Union has been providing support to Suriname.   Since 2017, some 187 people from Suriname have participated in Caribbean Export activities and over US$147K has been awarded to businesses via our various grant programmes so far.  As we look to build business, transform lives for a stronger Caribbean, investment is a critical requirement to realise our vision.  As such, the facilitation of a Suriname Virtual Investment Summit has been proposed and may well be on the cards soon.

Dr Sinanan also met with several stakeholders on the ground including De Associatie van Surinaamse Fabrikanten (ASFA), Vereniging Surinaams Bedrijfsleven (VSB) and the Suriname Business Development Center in an effort to expand the reach of our interventions with more Surinamese firms in the future.

Caribbean Export continues to work assiduously to strengthen our relationships with key stakeholders and foster new partnerships that can expand our portfolio of services to support private sector development, the transformation of our economies and the creation of jobs for our people.

Minister Shaw Announces Millions of Dollars in Agriculture Investments

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw has announced millions of dollars in investments in the agricultural sector.

Among them is a US$95-million investment to create a certified organic high-tech greenhouse farm in Goshen, St. Elizabeth, “which will be the largest, by far, in the region”, he said.

He informed that the joint-venture project “will be undertaken on a 200-acre property over a seven-year period, and will specialise in Heritage and Heirloom produce, TOV tomatoes, bell peppers, bush beans, garlic, strawberries, cucumbers, sweet corn, watermelon, and other assortments of fresh produce”.

The Minister was addressing the opening day of the virtual Caribbean AGTECH Investment Summit 2021 (CATIS 2021 on Tuesday (October 5).

He further cited the US$6-million JFVL Agriculture Project, which will deliver fresh fruits and vegetables for the domestic market, including satisfying demand from the tourism sector.

The joint venture equity investment is centred on the establishment of a state-of-the-art fully integrated supply chain operation.

“The project involves the production, warehousing, cold storage, and multi-channel distribution of fresh produce on the domestic market,” the Minister said.

JFVL’s business model involves the engagement of contract farmers to farm a 600-acre property in Hill Run, St. Catherine, under the company’s direct management, Mr. Shaw said, noting that a feasibility study on the project has been completed.

In addition, the Minard Estate Farm in Brown’s Town, St. Ann, will be expanded under a public-private partnership to increase live animals, beef production, semen, and embryo production, and a 500-acre Agro Park will be built in St. Thomas, under joint-venture equity.

“It (agro park) will be a leading global development site for climate-smart agriculture production, resulting in import replacement of highly valued crops for distribution and export,” the Minister said.

The virtual Caribbean AGTECH Investment Summit was organised by the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), in collaboration with the Caribbean Export Development Agency and its partner, the Caribbean Agribusiness Association (CABA).

The three-day Summit was aimed at promoting the Caribbean as a destination for investment in high-tech agribusiness ventures, with a focus on the production of crops, meat, and seafood, as well as value-added products from the region using smart technologies.

Written by: Garfield L. Angus and originally published by the Jamaica Information Service

Building a Trade and Investment Partnership with Rising Africa

Many Caribbean countries mark Emancipation in the month of August. Indeed, the CARICOM Community celebrates this historical milestone on 1st August annually.  During this time, we reflect on the end of slavery which will forever remain a stain etched on the collective conscience of humanity.  We use the remembrance of Emancipation to celebrate the deep and inextricable bonds we as Caribbean people have with Africa. Thus far, these connections have largely remained in the historical, cultural and people spheres. This must change to also include translating our excellent ties into trade and investment relationships that will redound to the benefit of people here in our Region and in Africa.

For those who follow developments in Africa, May 2019 marked the dawn of an exciting chapter in the continent’s continued ascent. It ushered in the start of the African Continental Free Trade Area with a cogent and compelling vision with Africa as one mega free trade area.  Just in terms of countries participating, it is already the largest free trade area in the world given the number of states who are members. Africa’s rise is also eloquently illustrated by the data. Whilst the entire world is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and most countries and Regions like ours showing negative growth, the African Economic Outlook done by the African Development Bank noted that real GDP is expected to grow by 3.4 percent despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Countries such as Mozambique have been receiving record levels of foreign direct investment. Yet, whilst Asian countries led by China have been rushing to Africa, we have largely lagged behind in terms of pursuing an aggressive trade and investment relationship with Africa. The opportunities to partner with Africa and a market of an estimated 1.4 billion people are immense.  As we seek to advance an agenda for a resilient Caribbean, it is not only important to shore up existing trade partnerships but to also look to new relationships on the trade and investment front. The world is changing and so must we.

In terms of trade data, according to the United Nations’ International Trade Centre trade map, CARIFORUM countries (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic) exported US$249.2 million worth of goods to Africa in 2018 which grew to US$601.4 million in 2019. Though this is a step in the right direction it is still a fraction of what can be realised once we make a concerted push to Africa. The obvious question is then, how we go about ramping up our commercial relationship with Africa.

Firstly, we need to shift from political diplomacy to one that includes a commercial focus giving Africa the priority it deserves.  Some progress has been made on this front with the establishment of missions in several African capitals by Caribbean countries. We are also seeing results. Just last month, I participated in the signing ceremony where Caribbean companies Global Integrated Fintech Solutions (GIFTS) and IPayAnywhere (Global) signed an MOU with Nigerian giant TelNet relating to the provision of a range of payment services. What was different about this relationship is that it ushered in a partnership focused on the new economy and not the classic relationship in the trade of commodities. The Barbados High Commission in Ghana played an instrumental role in bringing this to reality hence the emphasis on strong commercial representation. Similarly, the joint mission of CARICOM countries established in Nairobi, Kenya must pursue the same objective with a focus on East and Southern Africa.

Secondly, as we build a relationship with Africa and seek to also attract tourists from the continent, we must also deepen our relationship in the services sector other than tourism.   We already have Caribbean expertise serving in Africa in places like Mozambique supporting the development of their energy sector. However, this is individual and ad hoc. We need to be more systematic and look to areas such as tourism where we have demonstrated expertise and find ways of marketing our knowledge in such areas to countries where this assistance is required.

Thirdly, as the youngest continent on the planet with approximately 60 percent of the population under the age of 25 and with a growing middle class, there is immense potential for our creative sector. For example, Caribbean music remains popular in Africa, but we need to be more proactive in identifying the market opportunities and support our artistes in accessing them through digital and other platforms building on initial efforts such as the successful collaboration between Caribbean Soca artistes like Machel Montano from Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria’s Timaya. By focusing our creative sector on Africa’s vibrant young people, we will be building a relationship for years to come.    

Finally, it is important to underline that building this relationship with Africa and its private sector is not only the remit of the governments across the Region. Business has an important role to play in reaching out to Africa as has been done by institutions such as Republic Bank which has established operations in Ghana. Private sector organisations such as the chambers of commerce and manufacturers association need to also establish relationships with their counterparts on the continent. We at the Caribbean Export Development Agency recognise the importance of helping to build this bridge. This is precisely the reason why the identification of new trading relationships is an important part of our Strategic Plan for the period 2021 – 2024. We have already started initial outreach to institutions such as the East Africa Chamber of Commerce. As a Caribbean person who has lived, worked and travelled across Africa, I have seen first-hand the seismic shifts taking place on the continent. It is time we also make this pivot to Africa investing the requisite time, effort and energy. In a rapidly changing world, bolstering our relationship with Africa is no longer an option but should be a key element of our strategy to help build Caribbean resilience.

Riding the Wave of Success: Introducing Benjo’s Seamoss from Dominica

Sea moss, also referred to as Irish sea moss, is a type of red seaweed or algae found around the shores of the Caribbean, North America, and Europe.

On several Caribbean islands, sea moss has been used medicinally for centuries, but it has recently become increasingly popular around the world as a so-called superfood because of its various health benefits.

Pure or unrefined sea moss is high in antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C and D and contains zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, and iodine.

Fast Facts

  • 92 of the 102 minerals that make up the bodys natural mineral composition can be found naturally in sea moss.
  • The commercial seaweed market to exceed $92 billion by 2025.
  • It is estimated that 56 million metric tonnes will be required per annum as an alternative protein source by 2054 representing 5.94% of global protein demand.

Sea moss is also versatile as it can be made into a jelly and added to all kinds of foods including smoothies, sauces, and soups. It can also be blended with milk, sweeteners, and other ingredients to make a healthy drink. 

Over 25 years ago, Dominican entrepreneur John Robin realised the potential for sea moss when he was studying in Canada for an associates degree in fisheries development.

John started working on a project around seaweed and that’s when he got the idea for his business Benjo’s Seamoss.

He recalls: I realised in the Caribbean that we have lots of people who know about sea moss in the various islands but nobody had commercialised it or made it readily available. My idea was to globalise the production and distribute sea moss around the world.

Seaweed presents tremendous backward linkages for agriculture in Dominica and the Caribbean. Seaweed has around 2,500 different applications so we need to utilise the potential of this product. Beverages is just one aspect.

When John returned to Dominica he set about researching ways to bottle sea moss, extend its shelf life, and build a Caribbean brand on the same level as American soft drinks giant Coca Cola.

He joined with a partner to establish his company and, after overcoming some initial spoilage and product development issues, they created their meal in a bottle concept which touted the nutritional health benefits of sea moss.

John explains: By consuming seaweed on a regular basis, the body can be purged of some of the impurities that we ingest through our food, water, and even the air that we breathe. The minerals in seaweed are also in the right quantities for the body to absorb and use on a daily basis, that’s why there is a global demand for sea moss right now.

Benjo’s Seamoss is made from seaweed that has been cultivated in the Caribbean. It currently comes in eight flavours; original, peanut, oats, linseed, pure, bois band, ginseng and ginger but can be adapted for individual markets.

John says: Once we get the sea moss we store it, wash it, boil and blend it and then mix it with other ingredients. We have a standard and well established formulation. Most people describe our product as the best tasting sea moss in the world.

John characterises his company as one of the most successful projects in the OECS. Benjo’s Seamoss is currently the largest drinks exporter from Dominica with 95% of the product being shipped to 20 countries in the Caribbean and worldwide.

John says the key to growing his company has been consistency along with customer service. We spend a lot of time on market research and continuously listening to the customer, John explains.

We try to determine what the customer needs, we respond to that, and then exceed their expectations. We continue to innovate, introduce new products, and have a professional approach to everything we do.

John is thankful for the support he has received from the Caribbean Export Development Agency, especially in terms of access to regional tradeshows, but wishes there was more emphasis on assisting well-established brands along with start-ups.

He suggests: I really think we need to focus on the movers and shakers in the Caribbean and provide sustainable support in a holistic way rather than a piecemeal offering. Our region has ideas, we have global products, but there is no coordinated strategy to help major exporters and that’s keeping us back.

We have to find ways to create viable, big companies that can impact whole economies by providing employment, generating foreign exchange, and addressing the imbalance of trade in our region.

John has been in business for more than a quarter of a century but he has no intention of slowing down. In fact, he has ambitious plans to advance the reach of Benjo’s Seamoss even further by expanding from a national to a global strategy.

He adds: We want to expand on the operation in Dominica but we also want to do more in different regions in the world. Shipping is expensive so it makes more sense to set up a factory in the US, Asia or Europe.

We want to be a truly global brand.

Best-selling UK chefs share tips and tricks for tasty Caribbean cuisine

Celebrity chefs Craig and Shaun McAnuff are known for their flavourful, modern and vibrant Caribbean recipes.

The brothers, who are British but with Jamaican roots, launched their Original Flava brand in 2016 with a series of YouTube cooking videos and within a month attracted 70,000 followers. In 2019, their book ‘Original Flava: Caribbean Recipes from Home was a best-seller.

Craig and Shaun are on a mission to shine the spotlight on Caribbean cuisine by showcasing some of the most authentic, accessible, and tasty ingredients the region has to offer.

They believe food brings people together and want to share the happiness they experienced as children from their mother and grandmother’s Caribbean cooking.

At Caribbean Export’s Absolutely Caribbean Virtual Expo, the brothers took part in a live panel discussion on the versatility of Caribbean food.

Craig shared details about their incredible culinary journey and also spoke about the increasing popularity of Caribbean food in Europe and the UK.

“I think the love for Caribbean food really knows no bounds”, Craig said.

“It has such a range of different and exciting flavours as well as the culture of the food. It has the feel good factor and many nutritional benefits…adding Caribbean fruit and vegetables to your dishes makes food a lot more colourful.”

In a pre-recorded video, Craig and Shaun used food products from several Caribbean manufacturers in their own recipes. They also shared five tasty tips on how these items can enhance every dish and bring the scintillating taste of the Caribbean into every home.

Watch the video for Craig and Shaun’s tips and tricks and read more below:

Tip 1 – If you’re looking for an alternative to ordinary flour, why not try gluten-free products using Caribbean staples like breadfruit, coconut, sweet potato or cassava. These products are light, tasty, healthy, and high in fibre. They are also ideal for making flavourful pancakes and dumplings.

The McAnuff brothers used O’s breadfruit flour to make dumplings to go with ackee and saltfish. Shaun said: “It takes a bit longer to work with, more kneading than usual, but the dumplings came out nice and fluffy. The flavour was also much stronger and better than normal flour.

Tip 2 Turmeric is widely recognised as a superfood but why use the powder when you can get 100% of the health benefits and taste from the root! Belizean-based company Naledo produces the world’s first whole-root turmeric paste called Truly Turmeric. This paste enhances the richness and flavour of curries and stews and can even be used in smoothies.

Craig added: Naledo’s turmeric paste was a real joy to work with. Using the root of the turmeric meant you could feel the zing, texture and deep rooted flavour. It’s also versatile. We loved it.”

Tip 3 Caribbean cuisine is known for its heat and one of the best ways to introduce some spice is with a quality hot pepper sauce like Eaton’s Jamaican Scotch Bonnet. Maximise the flavour of soups, jerk chicken and even gravy by adding the sauce 10 minutes before serving.

Shaun also suggests using pepper sauce to control the heat in your dishes: “You can tip a bit in and taste it as you go along to work out how much you need or don’t need. We also use the sauce in jerk seasoning as an alternative to fresh scotch bonnet.

Tip 4 Viking Mango Chutney is the perfect combination of sweetness and spice. It introduces freshness and flavour and can be used to accompany any dish or to jazz up a salad. Add some lemon, lime and a little bit of water to the chutney in a pan and bring it to a boil to make a warm, tangy Caribbean style vinaigrette.

Craig said the family history behind Viking Mango Chutney particularly resonated with the brothers as well as the company’s close work with local farmers in St Lucia.

He described the smell of the chutney as incredible and added: Salad can be dry and boring sometimes we like to use something sweet with ours. But you can’t always get the right fresh mango, especially in the UK, so this chutney was just perfect, and it tastes unbelievable.

Shaun said: Mango chutney is also really versatile. You can use it as a plantain chip dip, as a dressing, or for Doubles as well. It’s amazing and natural.

Tip 5 The root of the sarsaparilla plant, supplied by Jamrow in Jamaica, is known to have various health benefits especially in relation to relieving joint pain and inflammation. Sarsaparilla roots can be blended, grated or boiled in a pot of water to make a soothing medicinal drink. Try something new and experiment with this Caribbean herb.

Shaun said: We’re familiar with the sarsaparilla drink from when we were growing up, so we were intrigued to use the roots. We made an iced tea and a hot tea by blending it and putting it into tea bags. It was a dense and strong drink.

Craig added: We grew up on cerasee and lemongrass tea, so it was intriguing to work with sarsaparilla, and you could feel the nutritional benefits. Herbal teas are also a huge thing right now in the UK.

Speaking at the Absolutely Caribbean Virtual Expo, the brothers enthusiasm for Caribbean food was tangible and they reiterated their commitment to promoting it around the world.

Shaun revealed: The most important thing for us is to keep flying the flag for Caribbean food. We just want to make people aware of the array of natural flavours, spices, and remedies the Caribbean can show the world. We’ll keep making Caribbean recipes, putting the Caribbean flag on the map, and letting people know that this is the best food to go too.

Here’s why you need to attend #AbsolutelyCaribbean2020

If you haven’t heard already, Absolutely Caribbean, our first virtual event kicks off next week.  We have more than 50 producers exhibiting over the two days.  From organic beauty products to aged rum, hot pepper sauces and condiments, these are some of the best and most exciting producers from the Caribbean.

The event programme has shaped up nicely and is bursting with interesting sessions that you simply won’t want to miss.  Here are just some of the highlights –

Partners, Original Flava, will show us how versatile Caribbean products are in everyday cooking.  ITC-Alliances for Action will present a review on the main food trends and opportunities for the future.  There will be sessions on plant-based ingredients which have seen a surge in demand in recent years. Another will run through the history of rum, including a selection of some of the best ones available.  You’ll have the opportunity to learn all about trends, business innovation and social inclusion within the coffee market as well as learning all about chocolate as a mass product with the potential to leverage real change within our food system.  What’s more, you will be able to book slots with each and every one of our producers to find out more about their products and how they are made.

Over the last few years, we have seen a growing trend for Caribbean products across Europe which is really exciting and provides great opportunity for our producers.  In 2018 alone, over 26 Billion Euros worth of goods and services were exported globally from Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and 17.6% of this was to Europe.  If you want to read more about the profit potential of Caribbean products across the UK, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, make sure you read our report (here).

If you haven’t signed up already, what are you waiting for?

See you there!