Archive for the ‘News Releases’ Category

21-Oct-2015 | Spur Tree Spices goes small with sachets

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Spice manufacturer Spur Tree has created small sachets of its bottled seasonings to tap a growing local demand for more economically packaged products and is also hoping the move will increase its presence in the domestic market … more

Spur Tree Spices in the JEA’s Celebration of 49 Years

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Please see below, a special article/feature that appeared in the Jamaica Exporters’ Association’s 2014 magazine celebrating its 49th year. You may view the magazine via ISSUU here.


On a hot day in February, the plant was sizzling with energy. Every member of the team was focused on getting stacks of flavourful seasoning products on to a container destined for New York.

This is not an unusual happening at Spur Tree Spices Jamaica Limited’s factory located in the Garmex Free Zone on Marcus Garvey Drive. The export orders keep pouring in. “Last year we more than doubled our exports”, Albert Bailey, the upbeat Chief Executive Officer informed our visiting team. “We keep looking for opportunities and when we find them we capitalize
on them.”

Nodding in assent was Executive Director, Dennis Hawkins. Other members of the leadership, Mohan Jagnarine another Executive Director and Anand James, Director were not present.

In 2006, the company started operations in Mandeville with a small commercial blender, making bulk jerk seasoning which it supplied to its solitary food service customer in New York by Air Jamaica.
The company’s next big opportunity came when Grace Kennedy Limited agreed to distribute the bulk
seasoning to local hotels, restaurants and canteens through its food service division.

Things have certainly changed over the nine years. Spur Tree Spices Jamaica Limited, a wholly owned Jamaican company, now specializes in production, distribution and sales of a wide range of quality wet seasonings and sauces, meeting the needs of both the retail and food service markets for authentic Jamaican flavours.

In 2014, Spur Tree achieved overall sales growth of 117% over the previous year, driven primarily by a 171% growth in exports. The Company was also not sleeping on the job in the local retail market, which grew by 44% and efforts are underway to build greater brand equity in the local trade. The year brought a capital injection of over J$16 million and saw the launch of 5 new product lines. Staff increased by 50%. There was also investment in Information Technology and other infrastructure development to facilitate continued growth and improved efficiency.

“We are in major chains in the North Eastern belt of the US, including Restaurant Depot/Jetro (Cash and Carry), Shop Rite which is the largest independent supermarket chain, and Food Bazaar,” Mr. Bailey said. C. Kenneth Imports is the company’s main North Eastern US distributor. NAC Foods Inc is a sub-distributor. The Spur Tree label can also be seen in other US locations as well as Canada, the UK and Caribbean markets, and of course, here at home in Jamaica. Grace Kennedy and Frozen Delights are the local distributors.

The company has achieved much in a very short time, steadily expanding its operations, product range and markets and breaking new ground in exports. Just three years after start-up, Spur Tree won the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA) Award for Best MSME Exporter and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) Champion Small Exporter JAMPRO Cup. Several other major awards for excellence have followed over the years.

Reflecting on the company’s achievements Mr. Hawkins spoke of the tremendous capacity of SME’s
for growth. “It’s easier for SME’s to double their labour force than large companies. SME’s account for more than 55% of total employment, and if even a quarter of SME’s can double their numbers there will be a huge increase in job creation. Every big company started out as an SME… To grow you have to think outside the box and work very hard.” He said that export manufacturers should not expect to do what they did twenty years ago. “We are not dealing with the same market. The Diaspora is changing. Packaging will have to change – labels will have to change- but the market is out there waiting across all demographics…”

Spur Tree has been discovering and successfully catering to its market with four main categories of Jamaican products: the acclaimed, convenient onestep seasonings (“just add meat”); premium quality sauces featuring the distinctive Scotch Bonnet pepper; traditional favourites – canned ackees and callaloo and a festival mix – and the “Ready to Eat” and “Ready to Cook” lines.

These lines of “Ready to Eat” and “Ready to Cook” meat and poultry prepared with Spur Tree seasonings, grew out of the company’s marination programme introduced in 2010 in a few Shop Rite
supermarkets, in recognition of the desire of retailers to add value to their product range. The comprehensive retail programme included customized in-store recipe manuals, training for staff and point of sale material. Hot deli products such as rotisserie jerk and curry chicken and the chilled, poultry and seafood seasoned with Spur Tree bulk seasoning and co-branded with the Company’s label, are now in many major US supermarkets.

Working on the basis that Jamaica is a very strong brand and that exporters need to support the image of the brand with quality products, the company pays close attention to all aspects of the process “from the farm to the customer”. It begins with quality locally grown produce and the company is proud of its strong linkages with local farmers across the island as they collaborate to raise the consistency and quality of their fresh inputs. Currently there is also an arrangement with the Garvey Maceo School for the supply of fresh Scotch Bonnet pepper in the effort to encourage various local interests to invest in providing raw material inputs to the growing sector of the economy that Spur Tree represents.

New York operations were established last year to facilitate weekly promotional and merchandising
activities aimed at increasing sales and raising Spur Tree brand awareness and visibility.“You have to go into the market and do the work on the ground to get the product off the shelves,” said Mr. Bailey. “We do four to five promotions every week, including demos and tasting. Distribution … is just the beginning. The process is not finished until the customer connects emotionally with the product”

The principals of the company have a wealth of food service experience and are passionate about their products. As Mr. Bailey explained, “We understand food. We understand customers. This is what led us to develop recipes using our own products. We will go and show our customers how to marinate, package and sell marinated meats.”

But with the many brands of spices and seasonings on the market, locally and overseas, what about competition? “You get lazy when there is little competition,” was the swift response. “Good competition keeps you strategizing and innovative. You also learn from others…”

Mr. Hawkins added, “Competition is only negative when the market is limited. You have to find a way to make yourself different. You have to do a lot of market research. Our aim is always to offer a better product than the brand leader at a lower price. We are looking long term, not just selling products but building a brand. …Everybody is looking at the same shelf space. We are constantly looking at ways to expand the market.”

Positivity, passion, product excellence, and people on board who catch the vision are some of Spur Tree’s success ingredients. Add expertise, thorough knowledge of the market place, boldness, creativity and sheer hard work.

There was good, positive energy coming from the team working at the Spur Tree Spices Jamaica Limited factory. The enticing aroma of Scotch Bonnet pepper pervaded the space, as the New York bound products being loaded promised more export earnings and provided more reasons to be hopeful about the nation’s economic prospects.

Spur Tree Spices Team

15-May-2015 | Copperwood Pork Jerk Sausage Enhanced By Spur Tree Spices

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Copperwood Pork’s new premium sausages have been making waves in the food retail space. Considered a ‘true sausage’, they are made with only meat, using no filler or paste, these premium sausages come in three mouth-watering options. Flavour packed Bacon, savoury smoked, and spicy jerk, which is a marriage between two authentic Jamaican brands, Copperwood Pork, and Spur Tree Spices enhanced with Spur Tree’s flavourful jerk seasoning and spices … more

15-May-2015 – Spur Tree and Exotic Products enter joint venture agreement

Friday, May 15th, 2015

TWO export-driven companies, Spur Tree Spices Jamaica Ltd and Exotic Products (Jamaica) Ltd, have joined forces to drive product development and export sales. The two companies — both involved in the production of food and seasonings — signed a joint venture on Wednesday … more here

15-May-2015 – Spur Tree Spices, Exotic partnership to create 80 jobs

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Spur Tree Spices Jamaica Limited this week officially signed with Exotic Products (Jamaica) Limited to produce a wider range of premium quality Jamaican food products which is expected to boost export sales and employ an additional 80 persons over the next financial year. More details here

24-April-2014 Spur Tree Brown Stew Seasoning at the Jamaica Observer Food Awards Tasting Event

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Food personalities recently gathered for a food fare as they prepare for The Jamaica Observer’s #Sweet16 Food Awards with a special tasting! Spur Tree Spices was present and we delighted the judging panel with our new Brown Stew Seasoning and other products. More details here.

6-April-2014 Spur Tree Spices at Expo Jamaica 2014

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Jamaica Observer article – VISITORS and booth holders to Expo Jamaica 2014 said that they were pleased with the variety of displays by the over 120 Jamaican manufacturers who gathered inside the National Arena on yesterday’s second of the three-day trade show. Click here to view this Jamaica Observer article which has a picture showing patrons at Expo Jamaica 2014 enjoy the variety of seasoned foods offered at the Spur Tree Jamaica booth.

26-Mar-2014 – Spur Tree re-positions for deeper thrust in food market

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

SPUR Tree Spices has brought together former executives of a top Jamaican restaurant chain as part of a plan to reposition the brand and push deeper into the local and international food market. Albert Bailey, former general manager of Island Grill, joined Spur Tree in January as CEO and minority partner. He reunited with Spur Tree directors Mohan Jagnarine and Dennis Hawkins, former operations manager and general manager respectively at the fast food franchise …. more via the Jamaica Observer

Spur Tree Pepper Jelly & Crushed Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce now at FreshCo in Ontario, Canada

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

To our friends in Ontario, Canada, we’re excited to announce that you can now find Spur Tree Pepper Jelly and Spur Tree Crushed Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce at FreshCo. stores throughout the province! Please click here to find a store near you.

Spur Tree Pepper Jelly & Crushed Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce at FreshCo Ontario

13-October-2013 – Spur Tree Spices wins two awards at JMA’s annual awards banquet

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

We’re excited to announce that we recently won two awards at the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association’s (JMA) 45th annual awards banquet! In the Champion Manufacturer Section, we won the Ray Hadeed Award for ‘Best SME’, and then followed up with the ‘Champion Exporter’ Award in the category of Small Exporter.

This is the second time in the past three years that we have been recognised in both these award categories by our peers in manufacturing, and we are grateful to all our team at Spur Tree who have contributed so much to our continuing success.

In the photo below, which appeared in the local Jamaica Observer newspaper, (from left) Anand James and Mohan Jagnarine of Spur Tree Spice accept the Ray Hadeed Best Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise trophy from Russell Hadeed at the JMA’s Awards Banquet.

Spur Tree Spices at the 2013 JMA Awards Banquet