Nation e-Edition

Bajan foods pushed in Canada

Bajan foods pushed in Canada Canadians sampling Bajan dishes. (GP)

Wed, May 11, 2011 - 2:00 PM

THE Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC) is launching a major promotional campaign to expand the placement of Barbadian foods in speciality stores and major retail chains in Canada.

This was announced by BIDC’s director of Export Development and Promotion, Sonja Trotman, on her return from a one-week visit to Toronto.

Trotman said discussions were hosted with Invest Barbados, the Trade Facilitation Office Canada and other parties interested in working with the Barbadian products.

“Coming out of those talks, we propose to expand our efforts with the view of implementing a programme designed to launch Barbadian products in specialty stores as well as in major Canadian food chains.

“This is also being done in support of our findings which suggest that while Barbadian food products are very well known and appreciated by West Indians and Canadians alike, there is now a need to regain consumers’ interest in these products through the introduction of a promotional campaign designed to revive interest,” she said.

“The meetings with Regent Distribution, the major importer/distributor of several Barbadian products catering largely to the West Indian community, and visits to retail outlets carrying West Indian products revealed that more promotion and marketing is necessary to enhance the awareness of the Barbadian products to this segment of the market.

“Most store owners confirmed that the Barbadian products were very good sellers, especially condiments and beverages, prior to the fall-off.”

Barbadian exports to Canada declined from BDS $19.3 million in 2009 to BDS $15.2 million at the end of 2010.

Efforts were also made to ascertain the extent of the distribution of Barbadian products there, and to further influence the BIDC’s decisions in determining what type and level of assistance may be required to improve the awareness of these products within the Caribbean Diaspora.

The BIDC also participated in the Good Food Festival trade show, exhibiting local products.

But while taking steps to expand distribution of local products, Trotman said the full support of suppliers would be necessary to ensure that a consistent supply of products was always available.

According to Trotman, “increased promotional efforts will see the placement of advertisements in relevant publications in Toronto, food sampling exercises, as well as the use of shelf talkers and posters

at major locations. These initiatives have already been discussed with some store owners and will be executed in consultation with the importers/distributors”. (PR)


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