Nestle Jamaica partners with Stoneleigh Coffee to produce roast ground coffee for the premium market

JAMAICA – Food distribution company Nestlé Jamaica has partnered with Stoneleigh Coffee to produce a roasted and ground coffee aimed squarely at the premium market.

The product is 100 per cent Jamaican Arabica coffee grown at high elevations that Nestlé will source from farmers in the area and branded Nescafe Jamaican Roast which will be sold in one-pound and half-pound packaging, according to the Country Manager Daniel Caron.

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Details regarding the co-manufacturing arrangement with Stoneleigh are limited, but Caron said his company’s investment was limited to packaging and marketing.

Nestlé already distributes retail coffee in Jamaica, but it’s imported prepackaged. Nescafe Jamaican Roast will be the first locally made coffee product for the Swiss-owned company. It will be distributed in Jamaica and in markets overseas.

“After learning of the coffee industry’s situation and, by extension, the coffee farmers in Jamaica, we took the opportunity to align the world’s largest coffee brand, Nescafe, with one of the world’s most coveted coffee markets.”

Daniel Caron – Country Manager, Jamaica

Caron said Nestlé saw the opportunity to deepen its coffee footprint after regulator Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority raised concerns of the surplus beans in inventory for which there is no market.

“After learning of the coffee industry’s situation and, by extension, the coffee farmers in Jamaica, we took the opportunity to align the world’s largest coffee brand, Nescafe, with one of the world’s most coveted coffee markets. This is a win-win for all stakeholders,” he said.

Stoneleigh, which is principally controlled by St Clair Shirley, David Shirley and Stephen Shirley, will process and package the coffee from its factory at Mavis Bank, in the hills of St Andrew.

“The partnership with Stoneleigh Coffee is a long-term, strategic partnership. We have committed to purchasing 40 tonnes of local coffee and there is no set termination date. Exports will commence this year,” Caron said.

In Jamaica, Nescafe Jamaican Roast is targeted at supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, offices and catering services. It will also be distributed through Nestlé’s e-commerce channel. Caron was reluctant to state the likely cost of the product, but noted that it would be high-priced, like others in its class.

“We will price it in line, to be competitive with the existing premium coffees in the market,” he said.

Meanwhile, more than 300,000 people have signed petitions delivered to Nestle in protest at its move to stop using Fairtrade cocoa and sugar in KitKats. The Fairtrade Foundation said the move was “devastating” for thousands of cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast

The chocolate wafer bar has been a flagship product of Fairtrade for a decade but Nestle is cutting links with the non-profit organisation.

The petitions were handed in at its UK KitKat factory in York, to coincide with the start of the annual cocoa harvest in the Ivory Coast.

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