Caribbean food producers taste success at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2022

  • ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ stand attracts interest from major UK and European retailers.
  • Over 70 leads were generated including a distribution deal in Ireland for Belize’s ‘Naledo’.
  • Ten Caribbean companies exhibited at the Fair under the ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ pavilion.

Caribbean food and drink was one of the hottest attractions at the recently concluded Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2022 at London’s Olympia.

Ten regional companies exhibited at the event from 5th-6th September under the ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ pavilion and their unique products drew in buyers from leading stores across the UK and Europe looking to capitalise on the growing demand for innovative flavours.

Representatives from Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Fortnum & Mason, Whole Foods Market, Turtle Bay Restaurants, and Wanis International Foods, came to the booth to sample a range of products made with indigenous ingredients including hot pepper sauces, turmeric paste, jellies, jams, tea, beer and rum.

Several convenience stores, delicatessens, chefs, food bloggers, and wholesalers also took an interest in the Caribbean stand, which was one of the busiest throughout the two-day trade event. The pavilion was also visited by three-time Caribbean Chef of the Year Collin Brown, and Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, founder of ‘The Black Farmer’ food range.

Over 70 leads were generated from the event for Caribbean artisan producers hoping to increase exports.

Anastasha Elliott, owner of St Kitts-based company Sugar Town Organics, said she was “thankful” for the opportunity. She added: “It was my first time showcasing our food brand ‘Flauriel’ on this type of stage. The feedback, queries, and reviews opened my eyes to possibilities I had not considered before when it came to my food brand.”

Lafleur Little from Vincentian brand Pringa’s commented on the number of people who enjoyed sampling their sauces, seasonings, and jellies. She said: “Persons from the UK are really venturing out of their comfort zone and trying more spicy foods. It was a pleasure to serve them Pringa’s line of sauces and condiments. I know they enjoyed it because most came back for seconds. They couldn’t believe they were getting all these beautiful flavours from sauces and condiments.”

Caribbean food was already creating a buzz at the Fair after Naledo’s ‘Truly Turmeric’ whole root paste, and CariBelle Foods’ ‘Lime & Mango Dip’ were chosen as ingredients for two live cooking demonstrations. These breakout sessions, led by renowned chef and consultant Steve Walpole, captured the imagination of attendees and boosted the profile of these products even further.

Naledo’s Chief Operating Officer, Nareena Switlo, said she was “thrilled” at the response to the company’s turmeric paste along with interest in their brand story which focuses on partnering with hundreds of Belizean farmers, and maintaining a sustainable and equitable supply chain.

As a direct result of the Fair, Naledo secured dozens of leads as well as a deal with a distributor in Ireland (subject to negotiations).

Ms Switlo adds: “We also have orders from some independent stores and meetings to arrange with larger distributors and retailers. So, stay tuned to see what we cook up!

“We would like to thank the Caribbean Export Development Agency for arranging the booth and supporting all the producers who attended. It was a fantastic business trip that will result in Naledo expanding further into UK and European markets.”

Ten Caribbean companies took part in the Fair with the support of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union – Superb Blend (Barbados), Old Duppy (Barbados), Naledo (Belize), Kalembu (The Dominican Republic), Shavuot (Jamaica), Flauriel (St Kitts and Nevis), Pringa’s (St Vincent and the Grenadines), St Lucia Distillers (St Lucia), the Antillia Brewing Company (St Lucia), and CariBelle Foods (Trinidad and Tobago).