PURCHASING managers of local supermarkets say packaging is important to consumers, and for the most part, local producers seem to have got it right.Purchasing Manager at HiLo Supermarket Charline Patterson said customers are generally pleased with the packaging and labels on the local products. “Local producers, so far, seem to have got the message about how important the general appearance of items is,” she told the Business Observer at the presentations of “New Food Items” at the tasting for this year’s Observer Food Awards at the Spanish Court Hotel on Monday. Purchasing managers commended Orijin Pineapple Juice, Mommy’s Choice Sweet Cassava Bammies, Rainforest Seafoods, Misty Valley Sausages, Jamaica Rabbit Ranch and Backyard BBQ and DejaFrut Sorbets as well as Sweet Moments: Baking You Happy. These items will definitely be a hit among consumers, particularly because of their taste and appearance, said Kirk Thompson, purchasing manager at Loshusan, Baribican. Mark McConnell’s Orijin juice brands have been mistaken for imported products because of the unique shape and sizes that the orange, grapefruit and most recently, pineapple, juices come in. “Our packaging is slightly different from what’s on the market. We use caps with a rubber seal that helps to preserve the life of the juice.” the co-owner and co-director of Orijin said. “The standard and packaging of juice in Jamaica had been the same for at least 15 years,” McConnell informed, “and my wife and I knew we could make a better juice, in better packaging, one that would bring some excitement to the market.” Meanwhile, the maker of Mommy’s Choice Sweet Cassava Bammies said the black, green and gold colour scheme of his packages was as a result of his patriotism. It seems that local consumers are just as nationalistic as owner Neil Yap Sam said: “I think they are doing so well on the market because of the look and taste.” Already, the Rainforest Ready Burgers have caught the attention of shoppers. Rainforest Seafood’s marketing manager, Roger Lyn, said within three hours about 70 packs of burgers were sold when it first went on the market. “It’s not the end of the month and people are willing to sacrifice their budget to buy the burgers,” he said. Customers are looking for convenient items and are going for those, HiLo’s purchasing manager said. Misty Valley Sausages, Jamaica Rabbit Ranch and Backyard BBQ are other nominees for the “New Food Item” award. Mitsy Valley sausages, produced in Maggoty, St Elizabeth are made from pure meat, pork and beef, with spices added to it. According to Father Marek Bzinkowski, there’s nothing like them on the island yet. He is the chairman of the Holy Spirit Foundation, which is responsible for the plant that makes the ready-to-eat sausages. “The line includes spare ribs, which come as a whole rack, half-rack or quarter-rack; chicken by the quarter; rib tips; pulled pork; and jerk barbecue rabbit — which is the only meat we don’t put in the smoker, but grill it,” said the owner of Backyard BBQ, Craig Powell. New-York born sorbet makers DejaFrut All Nayural Sorbet are set to put their icy treats on supermarket shelves within four to six weeks. DejaFrut All Natural Sorbet will be a treat for consumers who have these days taken a liking to gluten-free products, according to purchasing managers of supermarkets. On top of that, Christopher Wilson, assistant general counsel of the family-owned-and-operated business said their packaging is fun enough for children because it’s a push-up treat, yet mature enough for adults. “My two sisters and I travel extensively so we have exposure to different packaging,” he said. For now, the makers of Sweet Moments: Baking You Happy don’t have to contend with literal packages for the cakes, cupcakes and other items the business makes. But, appearance is still key. “We have to not only focus on the taste of the items but the appearance,” said Nadene Lazarus, “people have to love how they look in order to even care to taste them.” Father Marek Bzinkowski, chairman of the Holy Spirit Foundation, the institution responsible for the production of Misty Valley Sasuages shows one of the products. (PHOTO: GARFIELD ROBINSON)
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