n For over two generations, one of the oldest labels in Jamaica, Roberts, has been represented in the UK by Evans, Gray and Hood, part of the Kimpton's Group. The firm's wide portfolio ranges from ackees to guava jelly and tropical fruit punch drink. Recently, new blends of exotic tropical flavours have been added in six "harmony drinks". n A plant to manufacture Jamaica's traditional answer to hamburgers ­ beef patties ­ opened in Willesden, West London last May. Using Jamaican expertise, the unit supplies Jamaican restaurants and its frozen products are available in spicy beef, vegetable and chicken. Sales executive Edward Johnston says the company is looking to expand, under the Port Royal name, into mainstream retail and foodservice. He adds: "We have faced pressure to anglicise the pattie, but we are determined to keep the authentic Jamaican flavour." Island Grill restaurants, the Kingston group which has just expanded into Florida, and is also looking to open in the UK, is a partner, as is Jamaica Producers, the fruit and vegetable co-operative and shipping line. n "Caribbean Caviar" from Busha Browne is a spicy fish paste made from puréed herrings, spices and pepper. The company, whose UK distributor is Bespoke Foods is, says BB executive Deborah Garbutt, "looking to be more aggressive in the UK". It already sells sauces, chutneys and hot pepper jellies here. n The King Pepper Co, based in the Trelawney region of Jamaica (UK agent Enco Products), has launched a Jamaican Rum Barbecue Sauce, in a 525g jar which it exports under the Eaton's label. Director Christine Eaton-Wong says initial sales in the US and the Cayman Islands have been strong and the firm is hopeful of a similar consumer reaction in the UK. n One of the largest food firms in the English speaking Caribbean, Grace, Kennedy and Co was established in Kingston as a small trading company in 1922. But in recent years it has played a major role in export markets, including North America, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Europe and Belize and Guyana. It has developed a strong manufacturing base with food processing factories, producing dairy products, packet soups, meat, juices and ketchups and other sauces. The largest food distributor in Jamaica, it also operates a chain of supermarkets under the Hi-Lo fascia. Neil Hill, Grace market manager for UK and Europe, says: "Our task is to continue to strengthen our distribution, especially since the traditional Caribbean consumers are either diminishing or dispersing from traditional Caribbean areas. We are also trying to break into major supermarkets and c-stores with products that appeal to mainstream consumers." The company is launching a range of cooking sauces and is also introducing carrot-based tropical fruit drinks. n A recent example of Jamaica's penchant for unusual products is its production of squash and chutney from the locally grown sorrel plant. Shipments were sent to the UK last year by Marketech, a subsidiary of the Scientific Research Council. Sorrel is considered to be a functional food as it contains micro nutrients and a class of compounds called anthocyanins known to provide good cardiovascular health. In some countries, including Egypt, it is consumed daily as a beverage. n Pauline Clarke, marketing manager of Enco Products (part of WT Foods), claims the biggest portfolio of Jamaican food brands in the UK. She reports growth across the multiple sector with more mainstream market interest in recent months, a fact illustrated by rising demand for the firm's cookbooks. n {{FEATURES }}