Caribbean coconut brands tap into the US market
Three brands travelled to the Natural Products Expo East 2023 in Philadelphia to tap into the US market.
Demand for organic food and beverages is higher than ever, so food brands and trade shows are catering to this. Natural products that are good for the body and the environment are increasingly popular and accessible, with quality reaching new heights.
In September, brands and consumers converged at Natural Products Expo East in the US city of Philadelphia. It’s the American East Coast’s largest marketplace of emerging natural and organic brands, with 30,000 visitors a year. It targets retail, food service, and health and wellness stakeholders seeking to network and do business.
For small and medium-sized brands from around the world, it's an opportunity to gain exposure in North America and better understand trends there.
Bright Side Farms was one of three emerging Caribbean brands who traveled to the event with ITC’s Alliances for Action sustainable agribusiness initiative. Their EU-funded Alliances for Coconut Industry Development in the Caribbean programme is supported by the Secretariat of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and other regional partners.
Participation in the 21-23 September event fits within the programme’s wider framework of strengthening the capacity of small processors of coconut and associated products. The focus is on innovative and sustainable techniques from farm to shelf and strengthening market linkages. ITC helped the three brands prepare ahead of the Expo, organizing a market tour in Philadelphia to glean information on trends, categories, innovation and pricing for a holistic learning experience.
The response to the three brands’ products was overwhelmingly positive. They presented tasty, high-quality, sustainable products sourced and made in the Caribbean. Several strong leads developed for distribution, sales, investment and export to US market and beyond.
‘I appreciated the opportunity to showcase my product in the North American market to such a tremendous response,’ said Laurie Lloyd Gardiner from Baby Love’s C-G Foods Jamaica.
Companies also got the chance to attend the event’s showcasing of innovation and hot products. They visited the Harvest Festival that took place the day before. That extra networking opportunity gave them food for thought for their next business development steps.
About the project
The International Trade Centre’s Alliances for Action, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and important regional and national partners have been working since 2015 to facilitate alliances among actors at every step of the Caribbean coconut value chain through the Caribbean: Development of value added products and intra-regional trade to enhance livelihoods from coconuts CARIFORUM programme funded by the European Union.
Sustainable agriculture and processing practices, value addition and commercial alliances are some of the key tools leveraged. The goal of the project is to increase food availability and incomes of small-scale farmers through improved competitiveness of the coconut sector.