If you grew up in the Caribbean, chances are you spent some of your childhood climbing trees to pick a mango, papaya, breadfruit, or coconut.
Our region is resplendent with fruit trees which give up their yield on a frequent basis to provide a natural bounty that has been utilised by Caribbean people for generations in our kitchens, and to the benefit of our hair and skin.Now, people around the world are realising the potential of what mother nature generously provides for us, with consumers increasingly gravitating towards products labelled as ‘100% natural’, ‘pure’, and ‘simple’, and preferring food that is minimally processed and free of artificial colours, additives, flavours, and sweeteners.
Recent research from Reportlinker.com predicts the global natural food and drink market will be worth $263.1 billion (US) by 2028, rising at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% from 2022-2028.
This exponential growth provides an opportunity for Caribbean brands that have been successfully operating in this space locally and regionally and have access to superfoods and other potent ingredients on their doorstep.
Five regional companies heading to SIAL Paris 2022 will be hoping their natural products can attract attendees looking for innovative, exciting, and unique food and drink offerings.SIAL is billed as the world’s biggest food fair and brings together influential producers, importers, buyers, and retailers from the global food industry to network, connect, and debate. This major event is particularly key for businesses that want to expand their exports to Europe and beyond.
Guyana’s Only Coconuts brand is the definition of wholesome, healthy food.The range includes flour, chips (baked not fried), virgin oil, refined oil, and desiccated coconut and all the coconuts used are handpicked by Guyanese farmers growing trees on the Essequibo Coast, along the Pomeroon River, and in parts of Berbice.
Only Coconuts products are processed at the company’s 45,000 square foot facility based at Marudi Creek, and every item is free from preservatives or artificial additives and packed with healthy fats and antioxidants.
Artisan bean to bar chocolate company, Cacoa Sainte Lucie, was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Maria Jackson and is situated in Canaries on the west coast of St Lucia.
St Lucia has been associated with chocolate since the 1700s when the island exported its cacao beans to Europe where it was used to make some of the finest chocolate in the world.Cacoa Sainte Lucie continues the tradition of using local, organic cocoa farmers to create its authentic handcrafted chocolate products such as bars, cocoa nibs, milk chocolate, truffles, and chocolate coated nuts.
Ms Jackson is a skilled chocolatier who is also passionate about enhancing her community by providing employment and passing on her passion for cacao.
Established in 1992, Coffee Roasters of Jamaica Limited (parent company ‘Country Traders’) is a family-run business which started out distributing other coffee brands before managing director, Mark Fletcher, decided to set up his own roastery and begin distributing his own blend.Mark went to the Jamaican Coffee Industry Board to learn the fine art of coffee making and then set about establishing a talented team of coffee lovers to produce 100% authentic Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee.
Shortly after Mark set up the business, his dad John, who has years of food manufacturing experience, came on board and together they have taken their coffee brand to another level.Coffee Roasters of Jamaica currently supplies approximately 2,000 pounds of coffee every week to the local market and the Jamaican tourism industry, and its export strategy involves working with small and specialised distributors in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and China.
Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee accounts for “half of Country Traders’ business value,” according to the company website, but they also produce another blue mount blend and an authentic Jamaica blend, which is a combination of low mountain coffee and imported blends for distribution.Coffee Roasters of Jamaica is one of just ten Jamaican roasters recognised and licensed by the Jamaican Coffee Industry Board. One of the reasons for its ongoing success is the close contact it has with its coffee farmers which ensures they produce the highest quality coffee beans.
Bahamian brand Native Organics LLC is on a mission to “help any individual seeking to maintain their overall health and skin” with its range of 100% natural, herbal dietary supplements.
The company was started in February 2015 by sole proprietor and founder Nelticka Moxey. The idea came out of her work as a palliative care nurse, when she would often hear patients and relatives expressing their preferred desire for a natural pathway to health, as opposed to chemically based medications with severe side effects.
Ms Moxey began research, testing, and developing a line of plant-based, organic vitamins and supplements from indigenous ingredients with proven health benefits such as moringa, turmeric, ginger, aloe vera, and sea moss.
Native Organics supplements can assist with a range of ailments including joint stiffness, allergies, immune health, and digestive problems. The supplements are suitable for vegans and contain no sugar, salt, preservatives, or additives.
Choko Lakay is a Haitian company run by businesswoman Jheline Avrilien.Started in 2016, Choko Lakay specialises in crafting organic, fair-trade chocolate, and partners with associations of organic cocoa producers in northern Haiti to produce cocoa powder and other premium products including dark chocolate spread and chocolate cookies.
Despite the challenges of operating from Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, Choko Lakay’s stated vision is to “become one of the best manufacturing companies of cocoa products” and its mission is “to promote the sustainable development of the agro-industrial sector” in Haiti.