The World Foods aisles are a compelling reminder that the UK world foods market is every bit as fluid and vibrant as the diverse mixture of people from overseas who live and work here. With a population of 65 million and an excellent retail and distribution network, this country is a target for food producers large and small, aided and abetted by specialist food and drink importers and distributors like S.O.P. International, Wanis and Wing Yip.
One of the leading players in world foods is Grace Foods, part of Grace Kennedy, the international company based in Kingston, Jamaica. Grace Foods is again highlighting its Grace and Dunn’s River brands at events around the UK this summer.
There’s more to Grace Foods besides Caribbean: its Funnybones Foodservice business is also the UK’s leading wholesaler and distributor of authentic Tex Mex and Cajun food and its Chadha Oriental Foods division is one of the UK’s largest importers and distributors of Asian and Oriental foods.
Grace is Jamaica’s biggest food brand and one of the few to cross over into the mainstream, in Marketing Manager Nyree Chambers’ words, but Dunn’s River is gaining ground among mainstream foodies as a range of quality food ingredients.
Grace Foods’ recent activity includes the relaunch of Grace Coconut Water and Encona Carolina Reaper Chilli Sauce, a limited edition ultra-hot sauce that makes the best selling Encona Original Hot Pepper Sauce seem mild. “There’s still more room for growth for Encona and Nurishment in the UK,” says Nyree Chambers. “Our connection with the diaspora is paramount, but the challenge is to make our products succeed in the mainstream and get a wider audience.”
World food is changing all the time. As we leave the EU, we can expect more of our food to come from other parts of the world besides Europe. We will inevitably import more food from the USA, good news for American growers’ collectives like California Raisins, California Walnuts and US Rice, who already have a high profile here, working closely with brands, importers, wholesalers and retailers.
Finally, California also grows 85% of the world’s almond crop and Califia Farms, a farmer-owned business, has its sights on Britain as a market for its Barista Blend unsweetened almond milks. As consumers drift from dairy, could almond replace semi-skimmed milk on our cereal one day?