For all the emphasis that has been placed on raising packaging and labeling standards in the manufacturing sector in Guyana, even the brand owners themselves concede that standards on the local market still, for the most part, lag behind both international standards as well as consumer expectations. Local manufacturers have observed that the emergence of high-end supermarkets in Guyana and their seeming preference for importation of popular imported brands backed by costly investments in packaging and labeling have raised the bar to the point where many local products are hard-pressed to compete.
Ironically, local purchasing patterns do not appear to suggest any strong nexus between product quality and customer appeal. Both at home and abroad the wide range of locally produced seasonings, condiments and beverages are consumed and appreciated by consumers who offer good scores for product quality but often dismiss product presentation as sub-standard.
It is, says the proprietor of a prominent local supermarket outlet, a matter of the local food manufacturing sector being unable – primarily because of financial limitations associated with investing in packaging technology – to keep up with global trends in product promotion and consumer behaviour. The reality, he says, is that, increasingly, purchasing choices are being influenced by the ability of manufacturers to offer attractively packaged products and that factor often impacts negatively on consumer demand for local products in cases where there are better-presented imported options to choose from…..