UPDATED: Local women form agro-processing business, Rain Forest Foods

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UPDATED: Local women form agro-processing business, Rain Forest Foods
Five of the six women involved in the development of Rainforest Foods
Five of the six women involved in the development of Rainforest Foods

PRESS RELEASE – The town of Soufriere which is well known as a tourism landmark synonymous with luxury hotels and home to the Caribbean’s only drive-through volcano and a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Pitons, is now home to the first made in Saint Lucia All Natural Granola-based cereal produced by six women seeking to stimulate economic activity in the local community of Mocha, Fond St. Jacques.

In October 2010 after St. Lucia was ravaged by hurricane Tomas, these six women of Fond St Jacques, with the help of a Peace Corps volunteer Lisa Kuk and the Fond St Jacques Development committee, came together and formed Rain Forest Foods.

The six women are: Lydia Cazaubon (president), Magdalena George (vice president), Shernell Joseph (secretary), Mary Steva, Roseabelle Joseph, and Michaela Phillip.

Rain Forest Foods is a micro agro-processing business enterprise which produces granola cereal using high quality all natural local products like coconut, sweet potato, breadfruit and spices with whole grain oats. More recently they have also developed what is thought to be the Caribbean’s first all-natural Gluten-free flour, to be launched later this year.

Rain Forest Foods products are available at all major supermarkets including Super J, Mega J, Glace, Tj’s, GL Foods, Allain’s and Southwell and are on the breakfast menu of many award winning hotels and resorts such as Ladera, Le Sport, Rendezvous and Windjammer Landings.

In 2012 the company approached Ferrands Food Products Ltd. with the possibility of combining their cups of natural yogurt with its granola. Although packaging constraints prevented this from happening Ferrands very generously offered to assist Rain Forest Foods with delivery of its products.

Testament to the willingness of more established enterprises in Saint Lucia to collaborate with and assist start-ups, Ferrands Food Products Ltd. has been providing delivery to their customers at no cost to Rain Forest Foods since then, a very generous gesture that has been of great value to our success thus far. The Belle Vue Farmers’ Co-operative and the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation have also been collaborating very closely with and offering support to Rain Forest Foods.

Since the start of this project the company has also been able to enhance its operations through support by international development organisations like the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED) headed by Mr. Felix Finisterre and the Ministry of Agriculture and HACCP certification is now pending which will enable export to the European market. According to the founders “when we started this project we thought it would just be a small community operation, but the scope has changed significantly. We have received sales and marketing training, business courses, assistance with the nutritional analysis of our products and now TEPA is working with us to develop a market in the United Kingdom.”

The company was awarded “Agri-Enterprise Organisation of the Year in 2012” by the Ministry of Agriculture. The company’s vision is to become a leading producer of All-Natural “Authentic Caribbean” and will be rebranded by 2015 under the name “Mocha Rainforest” to reflect on the village where the project began and using the tagline “A healthy Delight with Every Bite”, to differentiate the brand.

The company’s brand philosophy is “We are committed to making ‘healthy’ a ‘happy experience’, with the belief that there should never be a choice between great taste and health. We believe that food should be fun and flavourful yet still an elegant experience, an everyday luxury that all can enjoy, whether on the go or taking it slow. We are committed to innovation, finding new and exciting ways of using every-day Caribbean produce to create convenient, healthy and delightful products.”

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45 COMMENTS

  1. As men we tend to think that we run the world, but just take a quick at your mothers and grand mothers and you will realise that's not the case. Congratulations ladies!!!

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  2. If president Cazaboun is reated to the Cazaboun bakery /restaurant between the Ave Aria Girls And Old RC Boys School of my youth then I am doubly pleased.

    My lunchtimes were more than a delicious fill up- eye candy comes to mind

    Please put up a mail order follow up (postal money order is fine) so that we in the diaspora can order bulk (say 6month supply).

    Have you considered Whole Foods, Price Choppers and Walmartin the USA? They are big on that genre of cereal.

    And customs' as this is a national initiative please afford a ten year import export tax abatement- youv'e done it for select foreign investors!
    I remain
    Le Champion Lover of wholesome cereals
    (seriously)

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  3. Can't wait for these products to be on supermarket shelves in the UK.Well done and all the best in the future.

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  4. Great news, I think we were introduced to this product at USLOA convention in Saint Lucia 2012. Wishing you great success!

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  5. What a great story! I really enjoy the granola with milk, as part of my healthy smoothies or on its own as a snack. Every time I come to Saint Lucia, I make sure to bring some back with me for my Kenyan and Canadian friends. Keep it up, ladies! You are definitely an inspiration to other women! I cannot wait to find your product on the shelves in Canadian supermarkets.

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  6. Merrick and Staff,

    Thank you for placing a picture of the product and some of the women. There was an earlier call from writers to have them added to the article. Big thanks for the follow-up...a rarity in these parts.

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  7. finally some good news, lately all I see is shooting and accidents.I see and hear enough of that in the US.
    Congratulation Ladies,good encouragement for the young people in St. Lucia, the sky is the limit. STAY IN SCHOOL.
    Very Proud ST.LUCIAN.

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  8. MY FRIEND DID THAT BEFROE YOU'LL. I HAVE NOT TASTED YOU'LL OWN BUT HERS TASTE GREAT AND IS VERY CRUNCHY AND FULFILLING AND SHE USES EVERYTHING NATURAL INCLUDING MAKING HER OWN SWEETNERS. SHE IS JUST NOT FINANCIALLY ABLE TO GO BIG WITH IT BUT SHE HAS BEEN PLANNING IN IT.
    ST. LUCIANS HAVE GREAT INSPIRATIONS..KEEP IT UP ALL

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  9. I just returned from home. If I knew that product existed, I would have definitely brought some back. I am extremely proud of the folks who brought this thing to fruition. A big applause to my favorite dairy place...Ferrands (good stuff). The hotels that jumped on the train deserve some kudos. This is a real example of cooperation. This is a wonderful
    story to read.

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  10. WELL DONE LADIES!!
    WELL DONE LADIES!!
    WELL DONE LADIES!!

    But the media letting you down.

    The photo should be of the package.
    What am I looking for?

    Ah well... I'm off to search the shelves.
    Cause I for one BUY LOCAL!!!

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  11. since Rain Forest Foods launched I've been a fan of their granola cereal. I can eat it straight from the packet. wonderful. tasty. I know the economy is HARD but I hope this company can continue delivering good healthy products. and also keep the cost to a minimum so ALL walks of people can afford to buy it.

    looking forward to more products from this company.

    one lil note...I wonder what the impact of changing the name to Mocha Rainforest would have. considering we have become familiar with Rain Forest Foods.

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  12. As the saying goes: It's not what St.Lucia can do for you, but rather what you can do for St.Lucia. And this is just a marvelous example of that saying.

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  13. That is great news. I will look out for it in the Uk and promote it on sites like My Fitness Pal etc. nice to hear some good news!

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