GraceKennedy aims to make a crust in US patty market

(Jamaica Observer) – Grace-Kennedy is now manufacturing and distributing frozen patties to the United States as part of its latest thrust in securing a place in the global market. Chief Executive Officer Don Wehby told the Jamaica Observer that the conglomerate has partnered with a co-packer of Jamaican heritage in the US to manufacture the patties.

GraceKennedy, which currently distributes to over 60 countries, says it is seeking to carry its newest product across the globe and has already begun distribution in the US.

In an e-mailed response to Business Observer queries, Wehby said the patties can now be found in South Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties; Central Florida in the Orlando/Orange county area; and in most independent chains, including Broward Meat & Fish, Bravo Supermarkets and Presidente supermarkets.

Grace patties, also branded turnovers to better reflect the wider American market, are also listed in Winn-Dixie supermarkets.

“We have also begun exploratory sales in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia areas with a listing in 16 Shoppers supermarket stores,” he said.

Grace patties, also branded turnovers to better reflect the wider American market (Jamaica Observer photo)

A note to shareholders in GraceKennedy’s 2016 annual report says the patties, which are currently produced in three flavours – spicy beef, mild beef and curry chicken – were introduced in the south-east USA on a test basis in March 2016. The company said that after extensive research and testing, the patties have received positive reviews on innovative package design and product taste.

GraceKennedy, which styles itself as the ambassador of Caribbean food globally, in its report said the pastry is rapidly being discovered and enjoyed over the world. It estimates the packaged frozen patty retail market size to be well above US$50 million and is aiming for 20 per cent of that amount or US$10 million from patty distribution outside of Jamaica.

Currently Grace patties are priced between US$2.99 and US$3.69 for two patties in each retail box.

“There are no plans to introduce Grace Patties in Jamaica. The focus is on growing the product in our international markets, starting with the USA. We believe there is a significant market of core Jamaican consumers as well as potential mainstream consumers in developed markets,” Wehby reasoned.

The company closed 2016 with the testing of the Grace frozen ackee in key locations in the US.

GraceKennedy’s international food companies showed positive year-over-year results for 2016, with Canada and the United Kingdom reaching new milestones for their businesses, according to company data.

The group saw revenue increase by 10.7 per cent to total $88.27 billion for the year. GraceKennedy’s money services segment reported the highest growth rate of 19.3 per cent, followed by banking and investments, insurance, and food trading, which showed growth rates of 11.5 per cent, 9.9 per cent and 9.8 per cent, respectively.

Food trading continued to be the dominant contributor to revenue accounting for 78 per cent of total group revenue.

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