Specialty Foods and the Health & Wellness Tourism Sector to benefit from over US $2 million
Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has secured US$1.07m under the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund), to develop CARIFORUM’s Speciality Food sector. The CARTFund is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and financed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
According to Caribbean Export’s Sam Kruiner, Project Manager for this Specialty Food Project, “The two year project will assist firms in this sector to boost export performance, which in turn will help the region to move into higher value added production.”
The two main components of the project are: A study to map the specialty food segment and make recommendations to address the needs for standards, training, marketing and branding – the results of which will be presented at a consultation meeting, which will also feature a regional specialty food exhibition; and, a series of promotional activities such as participation at the Fancy Food Show, New York; SIAL Food Show in France; ANUGA Show in Germany and In-Store Promotions in Texas, Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta.
Mr. Kruiner noted, for the past 16 years, Caribbean Export has focussed on the specialty food sector and has assisted companies to exploit this growing niche market. “People always like the different food products and tastes when we are presenting at trade shows and are always interested in Caribbean foods which are intrinsically tied to our culture and lifestyles,” he added.
Health and Wellness
A second US$695,887 project for the development and promotion of the Health and Wellness Tourism sector was also awarded to Caribbean Export under the CARTFund. Caribbean Export will work with the Caribbean Spa and Wellness Association (C-SWA) under their five year plan to:
· Undertake market research and strategy development to give direction for improving the capability of the sector in CARIFORUM countries.
· Develop standards to improve the quality of goods and services in the industry
· Market and promote the health and wellness product with the aim of raising the Caribbean’s international profile in this sector
Caribbean Export’s Senior Grant Advisor, Kirk Brown says: “The collaboration will promote each of the 15 CARIFORUM states’ unique selling point; to show that we have exceptional facilities in the region.” He adds that there’s more to this project than simply developing the sector. Health and wellness cannot be seen on its own. It’s also about strengthening tourism in the region.”
“We want to sell the region as a global spa, where you can try health and wellness experiences from any country,” says Escipion Oliveira, Caribbean Export’s Manager, Special Projects.
C-SWA Chairman Steve Andrews comments: “Caribbean Export had the technical expertise; we had the sector knowledge. It’s a good example of regional collaboration. C-SWA’s vision for the sector is for an integrated regional presence, and that vision is shared by Caribbean Export.
He continues, “This will bring together the regional wellness sector as well as Business Support Organisations (BSO’s) to explain the vision and seek collaboration on creating a unique brand for the region that we can spread all over the world.”