TEPA Links SMEs with the Caribbean and Country Store
[Press Release] CASTRIES, Saint Lucia, March 01, 2018; Approximately fourteen small and micro businesses have met with the CEO of a UK specialist online retail store to discuss prospects for their inclusion in the store’s online catalogue. Over the course of one week, CEO of the Caribbean and Country Store Mr. Peter Martin engaged potential exporters in business to business meetings to review products, inputs and product packaging to assess their viability for this purpose. Mr. Martin’s fact finding mission was facilitated by Saint Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA).
The Caribbean and Country Store is an online retail store specializing in unique goods produced by micro and small producers from the Caribbean, and from sectors and communities which support sustainable development. The store’s target market is the UK Caribbean tourist whose memories of their visit can be relived through tastes, flavours, and artistic works. As such foods such as banana, breadfruit, coconut, nutmeg, sweet potato, and plantain are a predominant theme.
According to Mr. Martin, the store’s business model was shaped by compelling trends in the consumer market. “ One in five products sold in the UK today is also sold online, the UK has a strong affinity with the islands of the Caribbean, and the specialist market is not concerned with price but with brand, which in this case refers to the people and the traditions that have shaped the product,” He explained.
At this time, Saint Lucia is of major focus for the Caribbean and Country Store Saint Lucia because it is best positioned within the Caribbean to also supply a hundred percent of the inputs envisaged for a new banana base products project being undertaken by the Caribbean and Country Store. An innovative concept to be introduced in the initative is the development of a gluten-free pizza, a do-it-yourself item with its 5 core ingredient components and recipe provided within the box basting only raw materials from Saint Lucia.. In addition, the company has found that “there is a small number of micro manufacturers here who have been perfecting the production of various types of gluten free flour, exotic chutneys, jams and jellies, cereals, teas and seasonings, which all complement the specialist branding of the store, and excites the niche we are targeting in the British market”, he added.
Following on this preliminary engagement with SMES, selected companies will be assisted technical guidance to meet the requirements needed to be able to supply within the UK market.