My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: CPJ introduces Ready to Cook Pork – Why Jamaicans don’t like Pork solved by making Pork ready under 30 Minutes

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CPJ introduces Ready to Cook Pork – Why Jamaicans don’t like Pork solved by making Pork ready under 30 Minutes

“It doesn't get better than this - just thaw and cook, and the instructions are on the label”

CPJ's Processing and Meat Plant Consultant, Richard Hall, in an interview at the CPJ Montego
Freeport plant with the Gleaner Food team on Saturday August 23rd 2014 

Pork is not exactly a favourite of Jamaicans, but the reason thus far isn’t clear.

So much so that back in October 2011 the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) did a six (6) months US$93,000 (JA$8.4 million) Study funded by the JSIF (Jamaica Social Investment Fund) as stated in the article Pig study to gauge Pork possibilities”, published Thursday, October 06, 2011 JIS, The Jamaica Observer.

The purpose of the study was to determine why Jamaicans don’t eat as much Pork as our American or European counterparts. The main reason I’ve concluded back then was that most Jamaican simply didn’t know how to cook Pork as stated in my blog article entitled Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Pork PR for increased Production - Jamaicans don’t like Pork Because they cannot cook it”.

So it’s nice to learn that a local Agricultural Processor CPJ (Caribbean Producers Jamaica) has stepped up to the plate, so to speak. They have met Jamaicans half way by offering Ready to Cook Pork in July 2014 that’s vacuum sealed and microwavable to eat as stated in the article “PORK doesn't get better than this! CPJ unveils Ready to Cook Meat”, Published Thursday August 28, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Good to note here these are the same persons who back in February 2014 were considering the growing of Rabbits for sale of Rabbit Meat to the Public as stated in my blog article entitled “Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited to go into large-scale Rabbit Farming - Rabbit Farming is Viable as you just Ignore their Cuteness and slaughter the Bunnies”.

Rabbit Meat has the potential to be huge, although I’m still awaiting News on it though. But what about Pork? Can the CPJ succeed where the JSIF and the Ministry of Agriculture has failed?

Why Jamaicans don’t like Pork – Statistics and the fact it takes too long are the main culprits

Please note my blog article isn’t based on the JSIF Pork Study, as I haven’t got access to it, although I can request it under the Access to Information Act!

Some quick stats on the Pork Industry in Jamaica:

1.      6,500 people employed
2.      1% to of Jamaica's GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
3.      US$12.2 million of Imported Pork

In terms or production, Pork was on a high:

1.      5.5 million kilograms in 2002
2.      9.1 million kilograms in 2008

After 2009, the year the Recession hit the US as noted in my blog article entitled EU, USA and the Second Recession - Economist Dennis Chung's Andromeda and The Long Night”, production dropped and is still spiraling downwards:

1.      2 million kilograms in 2007
2.      737,527 kilograms in 2009

This shocking drop is what the JSIF Study sought to explain which my article has pretty much done. We're not eating more imported Pork, as even that's too expensive when compared to regular Meats like Chicken, Goat, Cow Meat and Beef. Rather, as a fast-food country, we just can't take the time and patience to cook Pork, as it requires too much cooking and attention.

To expand on my blog article entitled Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Pork PR for increased Production - Jamaicans don’t like Pork Because they cannot cook it” you don’t use oil to cook Pork, but rather use a Pressure Cooker or direct flame on the seasoned Meat i.e. Jerking or Baking in an Oven. Frying Pork is a contradiction, as it’s mostly fat and you can remove it and use it to basically fry in its own fat at high heat. This is very unhealthy by the way, as Pork contains a lot of unhealthy so-called unsaturated Trans-Fats.

Most Jamaicans don not known this, as Pork has never been a part of our diet since slavery and Colonial times; we’re mostly a nation that grew up on Chicken, Goat, Cow Meat and Beef. The habit of having a Pressure Cooker or a Grill as part of your Kitchen or even the habit or cooking over an Open Flame of using the Oven to cook meals on a daily basis just isn’t traditional of the typical Jamaican!

Probably Maroons or people living in Rural Jamaica still cook with an Open Flame. But people living in Urban areas such as Montego Bay in St. James, Manchester in Mandeville, May Pen in Clarendon or Kingston in Kingston and St. Andrew cook over a stove, typically with an Oven, with the Microwave being used to heat up food or prepare Popcorn.

We’re more of a fast-food culture which the Ministry of Health is considering Taxing in the form of a “Junk Food” Tax as detailed in my blog article entitled “Min. of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson proposes financing Health Care via a Fast Food and Junk Food Tax - Jamaican High Schoolers Addiction to American style Fast Food”.

Food ready under 30 minutes, as anything beyond that is considered as taking too long by Jamaicans now thoroughly addicted to Fast Food from Burger King, KFC, Wendy’s, Juici Beef, Tastee and even Island Grill.

SDA and Rastafari – Small numbers and Contradictory behaviour cannot influence Eating Habits

Thus the difficulty of Cooking Pork using a Pressure Cooker or direct flame on the seasoned Meat means hours in the kitchen using up lots of Cooking Gas instead of just a quick in-and-out of the kitchen in under 30 minutes is the main reason for the dislike for Pork. This is usually what many Jamaicans housewives and even experienced chefs dread; it has to be done right otherwise it won’t taste good.

We also have an anti-Pork culture made mainly of Rastafarians and Seventh Day Adventists, but their group is too small to influence the population at large to not eat Pork. Many claim this is the reason why we don’t eat Pork. But that’s not logical, as more than 10% and closer to 40% or 50% of the population would have to be Rastafarian and SDA (Seventh Day Adventists) for them to have that level of influence over Jamaican eating habits and for this to be logically true.

Plus by right, SDA aren’t supposed to eat Meat in the first place and many ACTUALLY eat Meat, including Pork, under the cloak of secrecy at home or whenever the Boston Jerk Festival rolls around! The fact that they eat Meat means there’s little to stop them from eating or even tasting Meat that’s Pork disguised as Chicken or some other popular Jamaican Meat or even the sauce being made from Pork Oil, as I’ve mentioned above.

This contradictory behaviour in the eyes of many Jamaicans, along with other unusual Food eating habits, make them bad influences to the General Population, especially as their Religion is so anti-Secular and by virtue of their Sabbath-keeping practice, sets them apart from a society that still works on the weekends.

Add in the fact that it’s expensive and you might mess it up in the kitchen and Jamaicans will naturally stay away from dabbling in Pork. Finally, there’s the fact that Pork is normally associated with Boston Jerk Pork, the main form of Pork that Jamaicans know. To that end, many Jamaicans eat Pork, but only on the occasion when it’s Jerked.

And yes, that’s true for BOTH SDA and Rastafarians!

Ready to Cook Pork – Less hassle in the kitchen to cook a Meat that’s hard to cook

CPJ is celebrating 15 years in Jamaica. Thus it’s quite fitting that they’ve chosen to launch this product that’s made from 100% Jamaican Pork, which is a great way to support the JPFA (Jamaica Pig Farmers' Association) in getting more Jamaicans to eat Pork.

This initiative just might work, as it’s similar to Bacon option at Mothers Enterprises Restaurants where you have the option to supersize your Chicken or Beef patty with strips of Bacon or extra Cheese if you ordered a Hamburger. Bacon is Pork folks, and to humans, even Jamaicans, it’s irresistible.

This after their initiative to introduce Jamaicans to Pork via Pork Patties failed in spectacular fashion back in 2009 as stated in Pork patties, anyone?”, published Monday, September 21, 2009 by Garfield Myers Editor-at-Large South/Central Bureau, The Jamaica Observer.

CB Group had also tried, investing some JA$400 million to convince Jamaicans to eat Pork back in 2011 as stated in the article CB spent $400m to get more Pork eaters”, published Wednesday, April 06, 2011, The Jamaica Observer. But to no avail, with their development of vacuum-sealed plastic container being a possible consolation prize for having failed to crack the Pork Market, as making Meat stay fresh longer seems to have made all their Meats, including Pork, sell faster.

This is far different.

Basically this is Pork cuts from the shoulders and butts that have been pre-cooked, most likely using a Sous Vide method to seal in all the natural juices and prevent contamination as described in my blog article entitled US$169 Anova Precision Cooker is the Sous-Vide Immersion Cooker for the Masses – Sous-Vide for the Regular At-home Chef is the George Foreman Grill of Immersion Cooking Internet of Things”.

This most likely involves the Pork being first cured in a Curing Cabinet. Then it’s tenderized using papaine, mechanical tenderization or using a Pressure Cooker, Sous Vide Style so that it doesn’t lose it body or savour.

Then it’s cooked further in a manner based on the type of Ready to Eat Meal being offered:

1.      Mesquite
2.      Mojito
3.      Jerked Pork
4.      Shoulder Roast

The Meat once cooked, it is then vacuum-sealed in a manner similar to how CB Group currently vacuum-seals their Meat in plastic containers, saving on the use of Styrofoam in their packaging as described in my blog article entitled CB Group's Safe Food Movement Vacuum Sealed Tray-less Meats - Trend toward Vacuum Sealing in Jamaica to stretch Food Budget and reduce Refrigeration”.

CPJ is going places with Pork – Rabbit Meat and Wines are next on the Jamaican Menu

CPJ is definately taking the JPFA places with their line of Pork Products, to quote CPJ's Processing and Meat Plant Consultant, Richard Hall: “We have an exceptional relationship with the Jamaica Pig Farmers' Association.....We have the traditional, streaky loin and we have the only jerked bacon on the market”. 

CPJ markets Ready to Eat along with their line of other products:

1.      Breakfast sausages
2.      Chorizo
3.      Italian
4.      Jerked Bacon
5.      Pepperoni
6.      Picnic Hams

Interestingly they sell Ham Steak, for those of you who are fans of such strange Meat hybrids, to quote CPJ's Processing and Meat Plant Consultant, Richard Hall: “We are the only company that does ham steak - a good choice for breakfast”.

So will Ready to Eat be a hit? When I see Pork being eaten everywhere in Swallowfield near to the National Stadium and in Milk River, Clarendon on the South Coast, I'll be the first to blog about this phenomenon, Statistics and all!

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