Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 2nd 2015 Contents BG6 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JULY 2 • 2015
Regardless of whether the
goal is to increase market
share internationally or
locally, most executives
opt to network at trade
shows, summits or sem-
inars to grow. The start-
ing point for increasing
market share tends to be the home market
first, and then other markets. For T&T man-
ufacturers that goal of increasing market share
is not different.
Twelve local manufacturers left T&T for
the Jacob Javits Centre in New York to attend
the 61st Summer Fancy Food Show which was
held between June 28 and 30. According to
its Web site, the Summer Fancy Food Show
is the largest speciality food trade event in
North America and the leading showcase of
food industry innovation, bringing speciality
food s top manufacturers, buyers, and thought
leaders together under one roof. More than
180,000 products, 25,000 buyers, and 2,500
exhibitors were invited to the event.
Business Guardian spoke to four local man-
ufacturers who exhibited at the trade show to
find out how they can use it to leverage
increased international sales and visibility.
Christopher Alcazar, director of National
Brands at Vemco Ltd, said he was able to net-
work with buyers, distributors and even his
competitors. There is heavy demand for T&T
products in the Caricom region and in the tri-
state area (the New York metropolitan area,
covering parts of the states of New York, New
Jersey and Connecticut), Alcazar said in a tele-
phone interview on Tuesday.
"We now have the ability to go to markets
beyond Caricom and that is a big part of why
Vemco is at the Summer Fancy Food show.
The show exposes us to New York distributors
in particular, individuals in the tri-state area.
I had a meeting today with a distributor and
I do expect, in the short term, to sign a contract
with them to start shipping there.
"We met other distributors and manufac-
turers in the Caribbean; even our competitors
we were able to chat with the competitors to
learn various things about the market and the
market trends. It goes far beyond saying that
Vemco is just attending the show and meeting
He added that this year s show was the third
time the company is attending.
"Going into the US markets obviously has
its complications: getting Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) registered, getting your
labeling up to scratch and, from our visit in
the last two shows, that was where we picked
up a lot of information in terms of what we
needed to do, and the directions we needed
to head in. Walking into the show this year
I felt armed with the information with the
labeling, with my registration."
While the company is not officially distrib-
uting in the US, there are people who take
some products for resale to the diaspora.
"Unofficially, people buy products in T&T
and Jamaica and take it to the US and sell it,
so there is a demand. We do not have an
official distributor assigned there.
"The tri-state area has more than a million
Caribbean people. Obviously a lot of Trinida-
dians, Guyanese, a lot of them are first, second
and third generation nationals. There is a mas-
sive market. One million Caribbean people
who want our flavour of ketchup or pepper
sauce, mauby, candies, things that remind
them of their childhood."
The distributors who know the diaspora
market are looking around for brands aggres-
"When I am having conversations with
them (the official distributors), they are telling
me who else can you put me on to. The (Sum-
mer Fancy Food) show is a platform to market
T&T s Trade and Investment Convention (TIC).
What Vemco wants to do is to take products
to the mainstream USA, so it s not just the
diaspora. We want to have flavours of barbecue
sauce that mainstream USA would gravitate
ABIL director Nicholas Lok Jack said attend-
ing the show enabled the company to get
updated information about the trends in the
food and beverage industry worldwide. The
show enabled his company to see what every-
one else is doing. The show is attended by
people from all over the world. Lok Jack said
what has helped the company is being part
of the T&T pavilions. Ethnic foods from the
Latin America area as well as from Asia are
high in demand, he said.
"What I have noticed is that in exhibition
shows, sometimes you get lucky in the first
year but by the third year you get noticed by
the big distributors. Therefore, there must
be consistency in attending trade shows in
order to get results."
The Sunshine Snacks and the Charles Candy
brands were put on display at the show.
Now that the curtains have closed on the
Summer Fancy Food show, the spotlight is on
T&T. Lok Jack said the people who ABIL met
at last year s show have always been invited
"The buyers visit the factories to get a feel
of who we are and sometimes they are sur-
prised the companies in T&T are so big," said
KC Confectionery Ltd:
Ashmeer Mohamed, director at KC, said
the company has been exhibiting at the event
for six years and launched the Anise product
which is an aniseed-flavoured candy. According
to Mohamed, the company has a customer
base throughout the US in major retail chains
such as: Walgreens, Stop and Shop, Rite Aid
Pharmacy, and Duane Reade Pharmacy.
For this year s show his goal is to deepen
his footprint in New Jersey. The show, he said,
Seek out new markets
Christopher Alcazar, centre, director of National Brands at Vemco Ltd, at the 61st Summer Fancy Food Show.
NICHOLAS LOK JACK
director, Associated Brands
director at KC Confectionery
Continued on Page 7
12 LOCAL COMPANIES
Links Archive July 1st 2015 July 3rd 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page