My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why Seprod and GraceKennedy are expanding into the Branded Sugar Market in Jamaica

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Seprod and GraceKennedy are expanding into the Branded Sugar Market in Jamaica

The Sugar Market is set to get sweeter in 2016.

GraceKennedy and Seprod are now entering this largely unregulated market as reported in “Big Players Enter Retail Sugar Market”, published Sunday January 17, 2016 by Tameka Gordon, The Jamaica Gleaner

There is now an awful lot of companies and private interest entering the Sugar trade aside from these two new entrants:

1.      Palm Rose Commodity
2.      DK Processors Jamaica
3.      Sue Pat Sales
4.      HarveDan Marketing Limited
5.      Green Hills Distributors

DK Processors Jamaica sells refined Sugar and icing Sugar under the brand Diamond Krystal. Meanwhile Sue Pat distributes refined and icing Sugar under the Paradise brand.

HarveDan sells an icing Sugar called Bakers Marc and Green Hills Distributors sells an imported evaporated cane-juice product, a health-food product currently sold in Kingston and Ocho Rios.

Currently only three (3) companies are licensed to sell packaged Sugar from Sugar refineries in Jamaica:

1.      JCPS (Jamaica Cane Product Sales)
2.      Pan Caribbean Sugar Company
3.      Golden Grove

Explains why the Ministry of Agriculture and BSJ (Bureau of Standards Jamaica) in November 2015 began creating labeling standards to regulate this slowly goring industry as noted in my blog article entitled “Why Ministry of Agriculture and BSJ Branded Sugar means Price increase coming - How Packaging and Labelling Sugar protects the Jamaican consumer”. 

So who are these Sugar producers? And what do they bring to the Sugar table?

Sugar in Jamaica - Producers cashing on Jamaica’s sweet tooth

Personally I’m not a big fan of Sugar, being as I'm trying and failing to cut it out of my diet.

Alas, Sugar is in almost everything that I eat, be it HFSC (High Fructose Corn Syrup) of HSCS (High Sucrose Corn Syrup) in pastries and cakes or regular refined Sugar that I use in my coffee.

The Jamaican Sugar market is just getting hip to having variety in their sweetener, but for now the main types being sold by the Sugar processors are:

1.      Brown Sugar
2.      Refined Sugar

There are many different types of Sugar according to the Sugar Associations website, based on the level of processing to suit market demands, but they all fall under three (3) categories:

1.      Brown Sugar
2.      White Sugar
3.      Liquid Sugar

The misconception that Brown Sugar is not processed in any way is not true; the mere fact it’s in a bag means it’s been processed, probably not as much as White Sugar or Liquid Sugar. Here in Jamaica the Sugar processors and the Sugar producers have a very nice relationship.

Palm Rose Commodity is the maker of Royal Rose brand of refined sugar at their plant in Newport West, Kingston. Royal Rose made its debut on the Sugar market in October 2015. Their Sugar is supplied to them by JCPS. JCPS meanwhile is both a producer of Sugar as well as a seller of their own brand, Jamaica Gold.

Strangely, JCPS doesn't package their brown and refined Sugar; that's done by Sugar supplier Caribbean Depot Limited as explained in the article “Two Decades Later, 'Jamaica Gold' Still Seeking Market Sweet Spot - Supplies To Double Under JCPS-Caribbean Depot Partnership”, published Friday June 27, 2014, by Tameka Gorcon, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The twenty (20) year old Jamaica brand is soon to get a boost thanks to Caribbean Depot investment in US$400,000 in equipment and upgrades in 2016 as demand for their services is booming. Some interesting stats on two of the licensed branded Sugar retailers as supplied by JCPS General Manager Karl James:

1.      53,000 tonnes of brown Sugar sold by JCPS and Pan Caribbean in 2014
2.      49,000 tonnes of brown Sugar sold by JCPS and Pan Caribbean in 2015
3.      6,000 tonnes of Jamaica Gold branded Sugar sold by JCPS in 3 years
4.      2,000 tonnes of Jamaica Gold branded Sugar sold by JCPS annually

So what does GraceKennedy and Seprod bring to Sugar market that is slowly getting more crowded?

Seprod and GraceKennedy - Healthy Sugar alternative for the Health conscious market

Seprod, owners of Golden Grove Sugar Factory, are rolling out a 50-kilogramme bulk package of Golden Grove Pure Jamaican Cane Sugar. This is basically brown Sugar in the following sizes:

1.      500 grams
2.      1 kg
3.      2 kg
4.      50 kg

Expect the prices to be as follows:

1.      JA$85 for 500 gram 
2.      JA$170 for 1 kg

This rollout will be completed over a two week span.

The Seprod owned Golden Grove Sugar Factory, located in St. Thomas, has been a JA$2 billion loss making entity since they purchase the Sugar factory in 2009 as noted in the article “Golden Grove Looking To Rebound From $2 Billion Losses”, published Friday August 7, 2015 by Mark Titus, The Jamaica Gleaner.

However, they’ve decided to invest some JA$120 million to market their Sugar as branded Sugar in hopes of making a profit as explained in the article “Seprod To Capitalise On Marketing Agency Status With Branded Retail Sugar Product”, published Friday September 18, 2015, by Neville Graham, The Jamaica Gleaner.

As for GraceKennedy, they've entered the Sugar market since November 2015 with a refined Sugar product now on the shelves of their Hi-Lo supermarket. The GraceKennedy branded Sugar product comes in the following sizes similar to Seprod's Golden Grove Pure Jamaican Cane Sugar:

1.      500 grams
2.      1 kg
3.      2 kg

No word on sales but Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Foods Jamaica Andrea Coy predict triple their current revenues in 2017. I suspect that GraceKennedy will be tapping into the health conscious market segment in Jamaica as they’re doing in the US of A as predicted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How Gracekennedy Aloe Vera Sinkle Bibles American Health Drinks in 2016”. 

They’ll most likely be marketing other types of Sugar such as Sugars made from fruits or infused with flavours, possibly even glowing in the dark using quinine as explained in my blog article entitled “How to make Glow-in-the-Dark Jamaica Cassava Toto”.

Not sure how Sugar can be healthy in any way, being as it is associated with Lifestyle diseases such as per the UNFAO and IICA reports as collated in my blog article entitled “How UNFAO and IICA Reports indicate that Wealthy Jamaicans are malnourished” but the market is clearly set to expand with the addition of the corporate giants.

Sugar is sweet and so is the soon-to-be regulated Branded Sugar Market in Jamaica.

Here’s the link:

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