Jamaican food company opens London kitchen

23 janvier 2024
ITC News

Londoners can now order hot foods for delivery from the Clarence Benjamin Group. Their new kitchen, named Clarence Dutchie, grew out of opportunities with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to visit trade fairs and receive training in the United Kingdom.

Clarence Benjamin Group (CBG) opened in Jamaica in 2015, and has worked with the United Kingdom Trade Partnerships (UKTP) Programme since 2019, in the height of the pandemic. At that time, they were supplying plant-based meats and authentic Jamaican sauces to hotels. But that business lost customers when borders closed and tourism ceased.

Working with the UKTP, Clarence Benjamin saw the potential in exporting Jamaican foods to the United Kingdom and Europe. UKTP has supported the company to showcase their products at trade fairs in the United Kingdom during the last three years.

The experience gave company founder, Craslyn Benjamin, insight into the opportunities in the United Kingdom. That contributed to the development of the various brands under the CBG umbrella including Clarence Dutchie and Benlar Foods.

In the United Kingdom, Benjamin analyzed regional consumer preferences and then formulated the company’s products based on market demand. From there, the company decided to target the consumer directly with on-demand and subscription-based hot food delivery through the Clarence Dutchie hot kitchen. They partnered with major food delivery services to reach their customers.

This was also the case for product branding and packaging. In addition to the hands-on branding and marketing training provided by UKTP, her visits to the United Kingdom let her see firsthand the preferences of consumers. The company then changed to environmentally friendly packaging to ensure that they were competitive in the British market. CBG now has fully sustainable packaging for their retail products and hot food.

Clarence Dutchie is built on the 101-year legacy of Jamaican farmer Clarence Benjamin, the grandfather of the founder. With authentic Jamaican food, CBG tells the century's old tale of Jamaican culture and ancestral practices, through recipes handed down for generations.

Clarence Dutchie uses CBG’s own authentic sauces made in house, using seasoning and spices from Jamaica. To ensure sustainability of supply, CBG relies on a strong alliance with farmers in Jamaica and across the Caribbean. With a background in farming, the company works with over 300 farmers across 14 parishes under ongoing contracts and provides support where needed.

Structured under a franchise model, CBG plans to expand their UK subsidiary across the country creating hundreds of jobs throughout the Caribbean and in the UK as well as bringing authentic Jamaican flavours to UK dinner tables.