Robert Walker (pictured), commercial manager at Grace Foods UK, encourages wholesalers to tap into rising consumer demand for Caribbean/world cuisine.
Approximately 47%, which is 6% up on last year. We sell across all sectors of the UK market place, but our origins are in the convenience channel where we’re strengthening sales and increasing the number of authentic Caribbean products, appealing to both loyalists and newcomers to the category.
How are you looking to strengthen your relationships with cash &
carries and delivered wholesalers?
As the UK’s No.1 supplier of Caribbean food and drinks, Grace Foods is the ‘Caribbean Category Champion’ for most cash & carry groups.
We provide expertise and in-house resources across category management data analysis and bespoke range planogramming solutions, plus merchandising recommendations for depots looking to offer Caribbean food from scratch, as well as for those looking to maximise an existing Caribbean range in depot.
We focus on product mixes that best match local-to-depot shopper demand, together with suggested promotional and NPD strategies to maximise sales opportunities throughout the year.
Which are the most dynamic products within the Grace Foods portfolio at the moment, and are wholesalers tapping in to the latest market trends?
In today’s challenging trading environment, the UK’s Caribbean food and drink category represents a real opportunity for growth, fuelled by increased consumer demand for authentic, exciting, new ‘world flavours’.
The market is worth £95 million and is growing at almost 4%, with Grace Foods UK supplying over 40% of the category. We have a broad portfolio, but our hero products include Nurishment, the UK’s No.1 nutritionally-enriched milk drink; Encona, the UK’s No.1 hot pepper sauce brand, which is growing at 15% year on year; and Grace Say Aloe, which has an 80% share of the UK’s aloe vera drinks market.
Other Grace brands are also rising stars of the Caribbean food and drink market. These include Grace Plantain Chips (+38%), Grace Tropical Rhythms (+9%), Grace coconut products (+33%) and Grace soups (+32%).
We have also launched a number of reduced sugar and salt versions of our most popular food and drink lines, providing more consumer choice in light of initiatives such as the sugar tax, without compromising on quality or taste.
How can cash & carries and delivered wholesalers improve their sales of Caribbean food and drink products?
We’re working closely with cash & carries to maximise key calendar seasons and occasions to boost sales. This might involve building secondary/front-of-depot Caribbean product displays with supporting PoS materials and theatre, including product sampling to drive awareness and encourage trial.
Key periods, such as Easter, summer (including Notting Hill Carnival and Caribbean Food Week in August) and Christmas, can deliver an incremental 40% value growth to the wider Afro-Caribbean category.
For example, Grace Foods’ annual Caribbean Food Week, the UK’s biggest celebration of Caribbean food, drink and culture and now in its seventh year, typically sees a 25% increase in sales of Caribbean food and drink against standard promotions and so is an opportunity not to be missed by C&Cs and delivered wholesalers.
Are there any C&Cs or delivered wholesalers you wish to highlight as being particularly progressive?
We’re really pleased that all our cash & carry and delivered wholesale partners recognise the growth potential of Caribbean products. They include Bestway and Dhamecha, which have really embraced our Caribbean Food Week concept in recent years with dedicated in-depot sampling, using our Caribbean Street Food Truck and in-depot promotions supported with theatre to help drive awareness and promote trial of Caribbean produce.
Is there anything else our readers should know about Grace Foods’
operation or strategy?
Grace Foods UK Group is a true ‘world foods’ business, specialising in Caribbean, African, Oriental, Tex-Mex, Mexican and American cuisines. With our global sourcing, manufacturing and distribution network and NPD expertise within the GraceKennedy Group family (headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica), we’re perfectly positioned to tap into and deliver new trends to the market.
We’re increasing our focus on innovative NPD – offering convenience-focused product innovation alongside traditional, authentic Caribbean favourites to bring a wider mainstream audience into Caribbean cuisine.
Caribbean/world cuisine is growing across the whole of the UK, not just in London and other major cities. As a consequence, we’re dedicating resource nationwide in promotions and activity support.
Tel: Grace Foods (01707) 322332