A Taste of the Islands- Closer than you think

Members of the Jamaican delgation at SIAL 2019. Photo credit: DSI Photography

By Leanne Benn

Don’t we all crave for that taste of home, especially while living in the North? As part of an initiative by JAMPRO Trade and Investment Jamaica and Do Business Jamaica, there was a special event held in Toronto to promote and highlight different Jamaican and Caribbean food exporters in hopes of these island goods being found on the shelves of our local supermarkets in Toronto.

JAMPRO is a division of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries of the Government of Jamaica and its main aim is to promote the export of local goods to the international market as well as create a multitude of business opportunities.

The benefit can be mutual for both exporters and buyers looking to invest and support local goods from the islands. The Jamaican diaspora in Toronto continues to grow and as such, it is not odd to find Jamaican cuisine, or Jamaican influence hitting the streets of the city, However, when it comes to food and home goods, sometimes the supply is not always there.

Some of the companies being promoted and hoping to invest in the Canadian marketplace as a supplier of goods through proper channels of distribution include, Caritas Jamaica Limited, Home Choice Enterprise Limited, Caribbean Dreams Jamaican Teas, Linga Ya Farms, Monymusk Plantation Rums, Scotch Boyz Jamaica hot sauces and Wisynco Group Limited a supplier for Bigga soft drinks and Tru Juice natural juices.

As some of the names suggest, these suppliers will offer a marketplace for condiments, rum, juices teas, dried goods and other easily preserved items available for export. Carita Jamaica Limited has been in the business of promoting and supplying Jamaican goods for over thirty years and are hoping to expand to Ontario as part of the Canadian market as some of their products are already in Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Their items include hot peppers, spices for cooking, soup mixes, gluten-free breadfruit, cassava, and sweet potato flour, curry seasonings and other various herbs that help to bring the taste of Jamaica on a global scale.

Home Choice, another supplier on the Jamaican market for over twenty years specializes in unique and flavorful food items including ginger extract, curry powder, guava cheese, vinegar, and various other condiments. One stand out item already found on supermarket shelves is peppered shrimp, a popular Jamaican favorite, In this case, the shrimp is supplied fresh from Guyana, where it is then dried, preserved, spiced and packaged in Jamaica. The spicy brine of the shrimp will add that extra zest to rice, or even as part of vegetable stir-fries.

If you’re looking to cool down from all that spice with a refreshing and natural juice fresh from the island kitchens, Tru Juice as part of Wisynco Group Limited is part of one of Jamaica’s leading manufacturing and distributing enterprise. The company distributes over 110 brands and 2,100 different products in Jamaica, ranging from local ice creams to the distribution of other international bigger brands such as Coca Cola and Nestle among others. Tru Juices come in a variety of flavors including pineapple, orange and mixes like mango orange pineapple. This juice will always provide you with a fresh taste because it’s manufactured to have a shelf life that does not exceed ninety days.

It’s the story we all know if you’re from the islands. You always want to bring back a bit of home in your suitcase, even if it’s just a little snack because island food is after all the best food. This was the kind of situation, Anne and William Saunders found themselves in. As the owners behind Linga Ya Farms, the Saunders family moved to Jamaica in 2009 and have over 100 breadfruit trees. As they traveled overseas, they would package and seal fresh fire roasted breadfruit to share with their friends. Eventually, someone asked them why not export this product? As it is today you can be part of the fresh breadfruit crew by picking up a few packets of this product at local Jamaican supermarkets or at the airport on your way out. The breadfruit can also be frozen for up to nine months.

To top it all off with a nightcap, the sweet, smooth vanilla spiced Monymusk Rums will do just that. This rum is actually a joint ownership by Demerara Distillers Limited, Guyana, West Indies Rum Distilleries of Barbados and the National Sugar Company of Jamaica. This product is about three years old and is available at some select LCBO locations in Ontario, including Toronto, Brampton and Mississauga.

So, if you happen to cross paths with any of these brands or products just know that they will provide a taste of the islands wherever you go. For more information on the JAMPRO trade expo and to contact potential suppliers to the Canadian market, visit, sialcanada.com

Published Date: 
Wednesday, May 15, 2019