Mavis Bank launches new Jablum Gold, aims to double sales

Mavis Bank Coffee Factory (MBCF) launched a new luxury coffee product on Thursday under its Jablum brand and announced that it plans to double roasted coffee revenues in five years to J$500 million annually.

The new product represents the selection of the top Jamaica Blue Mountain, or the JBM No 1 bean, roasted and cupped for a distinct sweet aroma and full body.

Comparatively, Jablum Classic offers JBM No 1 and No 2 beans.

The new Jablum Gold roasted beans will wholesale for US$22 per pound (454 grams) compared with Jablum Classic roasted beans for US$15 per pound.

Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, which is among the most expensive in the world, sells for some 20 times that of commodity coffee brands from Ethiopia or Colombia, currently priced at US$1.17 per pound.

However, the crop earns a fraction of its potential as most of the product is exported as green beans rather than value-added roasted beans.

"The value-added side of the business is at J$250 million and over the next five years we will seek to grow that to half a billion dollars, and Jablum Gold will be critical to achieving that objective," Senator Norman Grant, managing director of MBCF, told the Financial Gleaner at the product launch in Kingston.

MBCF is located in the hills of rural St Andrew.

The company will supply inbond or duty free shops and supermarkets, as well as the export market.

"The introduction of Jablum Gold, along with some other new developments that MBCF is currently embracing, is a direct strategy to increase the value-added portion of our business from the current 30 per cent to 50 per cent over the medium term. Presently, our sales mix is 70 per cent green coffee and 30 per cent roasted or value-added product," said Grant.

Export sales

Sales to Japan remain MBCF's largest market with 70 per cent of sales, followed by the United States with 20 per cent, and Europe and the rest of the world at 10 per cent.

"This will be done by increasing the roasting coffee business - that is, all our business sold under the Jablum brand. This move will continue to increase our market diversity allowing for more certainty in the demand and price of our coffee, with that certainty being transferred to our farmers," he said.

Grant said that Jablum Gold would provide quality, consistency in "every single cup".

"Consumers will now have two distinctive Jablum products in all our market segments that is Jablum Classic and Jablum Gold with each product delivering an excellent cup."

MBCF was divested by the Government last October to Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust and Jamaica Producers Group (JP) each with equal 50 per cent shareholding.

The state agency, Development Bank of Jamaica netted US$4.5 million (J$391 million) from the sale of MBCF.

MBCF will spend some J$100 million over the next twelve months to upgrade the factory and equip the entity and its key farmers with Rainforest certification.

"Rainforest certification will allow us to enter niche markets in Europe and the US," said Grant.


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