In Caribbean news. Bridgetown, Barbados, October 17, 2013. The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) presented the Caribbean Kitchen Pavilion at the ANUGA 2013 Food Show, Germany, October 5-9, 2013 and was a huge success.

This was the first time Caribbean Export has taken a collective of food and beverage producers to ANUGA as part of Caribbean Kitchen.  The 212 sqm space showcased a variety of food and beverage products from across the region, including Taste13 award winners Banana Ketchup from Baron Foods, Tiger Malt from Beverages Caribbean Inc. and Marie Sharp’s Fruit Flavours from Belize.

ANUGA is the world’s leading food fair for retail trade and the food service and catering market, impressively attracting over 150 thousand trade visitors from 185 countries.

Some of the participants. Photo courtesy CEDA.

Some of the participants. Photo courtesy CEDA.

Visitors to the vibrant Caribbean Kitchen pavilion stepped into a Caribbean beach bar setting, where they could taste a range of foods complemented with Caribbean produced condiments or sauces and wash them down with a choice of Caribbean alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, with rhythmic Caribbean music playing in the background.

The stand was a hive of activity with many visitors coming to try new flavours such as Banana Ketchup from both Baron Foods and Viking Trading.   Marketing Director of Viking Traders, Gizelle Fleischhacker found the “most interesting part of ANUGA was the opportunity to interact with business contacts from around the world”.

It is a key objective of Caribbean Export to put the right firms, in front of the right decision makers, at the right time, to maximize the export potential for the region.

The participation of Caribbean Kitchen at ANUGA has done just that.   A few participating firms were able to capitalize whilst at the event, taking orders for their products such as Barbados’ 10 Saints who “received definite orders from four (4) European markets” and have since closed an order with an African distributor.   Director Glyn Partridge expressed that “In one week [we] have gained access to at least 5 EU markets which is a dream come true”.

Caribbean Export in partnership with GIZ supported a total of 11 firms from 7 different countries.  Other participants included: The West India Biscuit Company, Barbados; Parry W. Bellot & Co. Ltd, Dominica; Country Traders Limited, Honey Bun and Tijule of Jamaica; and SMAKS, Trinidad & Tobago.   Mardi SRL from the Dominican Republic unfortunately was unable to attend.

The Caribbean contingent was headed up by Caribbean Exports’ Special Advisor – Export Development, Sam Kruiner who expressed that “Caribbean Export can continue to provide market access opportunities such as this, but it is down to the firms to do their work to penetrate the market.  We are pleased that many of the participating firms have managed to do that on this occasion”.

Given the excitement at the presence of Caribbean firms at ANUGA and the media attention awarded to Caribbean Kitchen by international food press, industry bloggers and German television, it is evident that there is a strong thirst for Caribbean foods and beverages within Europe and Caribbean firms must invest in utilizing the benefits of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU.

“It is through the facilitated presence of the Caribbean at this event, that a crucial service is provided to Caribbean firms to seize market access opportunities arising from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), ultimately leading to market penetration into the EU by Caribbean firms.

The long term goal is to enhance the ability of these companies to be able to shoulder the responsibility of preparing for and attending such forums on their own in future” stated Ginelle Greene, GIZ Private Sector Officer, with one approach being as a collective Caribbean contingent, as was successfully demonstrated with Caribbean Kitchen at the ANUGA trade fair.

Caribbean Export’s Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton reiterates this, stating that “We are committed to facilitating opportunities for the Private Sector, that support the long-term growth of our regions export market, however it would be cognizant of the private sector to make the necessary investment to penetrate the European market and utilize the EPA.”