JP Tropical Foods to double banana production, open pineapple packing facility
JP Tropical Foods plans to double banana production for the back-to-school season, beginning September, 2017 aimed at making more of the fresh fruit available to students.
In addition, the company will be commissioning, by mid-May a state-of-the art pineapple packing facility at its Chocolate Walk factory, in St. Mary, so as to make fresh pineapple also easily available for snacking.
To this end, Tropical Foods will be employing 308 persons to operate across 456 acres of banana and pineapple cultivations.
CEO of JP Tropical Foods David Martin noted that other countries of the Caribbean, as well as Central America and Europe where it does business - are employing several strategies in schools to promote healthy snacking among students.
"Therefore, we cannot allow Jamaica to fall behind in this trend," he said adding that "the focus of JP Tropical Foods this year will be to launch a campaign to help the young Jamaican population to understand the importance of a nutritional diet that supports growing minds and bodies."
Martin also noted that whereas bananas have been the flagship fresh product offered by his company in recent times, JP Tropical Foods has invested heavily in pineapple cultivation, harvesting and packaging.
“The growth in production by late summer will come from improved yields and growing practices, as well as expanded acreage,” he added.
According to Danielle Barnett, Administrative and Quality manager for JP Farms, that company was the first agricultural entity of any kind in Jamaica to be granted ISO certification for quality and environmental standards.
“Unlike some imported produce, customers can be assured that JP’s products are free from pesticide residue, as we are very careful when selecting varieties that have the best taste profile. This is because we are continuously carrying out research and experimentation to improve our yields. Today, we are confident that the Cavendish varieties that JP Foods has been growing over a generation is what our customers want and enjoy,” Barnett said.
She emphasised that all JP Food’s packaged snacks are free of all preservatives and have no artificial flavours and colours.
Currently its flagship St. Mary banana chips is the market leader in this category, which is produced in St. Mary, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. The St. Mary brand of banana chips is sold in eight countries.
However, its heartland remains in Jamaica where its core operation began and continues to grow. JP Tropical Foods is a subsidary of Jamaica Producers.