“Almost anyone can make a thing, but it takes a dedicated team of people, extraordinary focus, open-minded partnership and unwavering resolve to make a good thing. This is how transformative, enduring brands and products are forged.”
Those words were spoken by Professor Suresh Narine at the national retail launch of the Morning Glory rice cereal yesterday. The event was hosted by Ansa McAl Trading Limited (AMTL) and the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST).
It would certainly seem that in the case of the Morning Glory brand cereal, a not only good, but outstanding product has been created by the efforts of the staff of the IAST. The product is produced in Anna Regina in a state-of-the-art plant built, commissioned and operated by the Institute.
AMTL has been distributing the product since January 2018, but chose to announce the national distribution of the product yesterday, having already successfully introduced the brand into more than 130 retail centres nationwide.
Professor Narine shared that gross sales of the product since January 2018 have been over $30 Million, with expected gross sales for 2018 to be in the $75 to $80 million range. For a new product produced in a new plant, with a capital expenditure of $100 million, the product clearly has been a huge hit in the marketplace, with its growth showing no signs of abatement.
AMTL’s manager of food and consumer goods, Ms. Anjeta Hinds, said “Ansa McAl prides itself in fostering strong partnerships with reputable products that allow Guyanese to get a taste of what they need, and through healthy ‘in your face’ marketing, make those products into what they want; Morning Glory Rice Cereal is no exception.”
Hinds added, “You can find Morning Glory at leading retailers countrywide, and if it is not there, ask for it by name and create the demand. AMTL guarantees the usual interactive promotions for consumers and that Morning Glory will become a staple in every household. Morning Glory is the first of many locally manufactured products to be distributed by AMTL and there is a high level of gratitude to Dr. Narine for entrusting the company with this initiative.”
Professor Narine issued a challenge to Guyanese consumers, “Try us because we are entirely 100% Guyanese produced, and I guarantee you that you will remain a loyal customer because of superior taste and texture, superior nutrition and superb and safe packaging and presentation.”
The product is made with no preservatives, entirely from rice, molasses, sugar, salt and a cocktail of vitamins specifically tailored to nutritional needs in the Caribbean.
Almost 100% of the raw materials, with the exception of the imported vitamins and salt, are produced locally in Guyana. The plant currently employs 18 locally trained staff from the Essequibo Coast, and 15 seconded staff from the Institute. Through a constant process of training, the Institute’s staff is being replaced by locally trained staff, with 100% local, from Region 2, staff expected to run the plant by mid-2019.
As the market grows, and the plant moves beyond the current one shift of operation, full employment is targeted at 200 people from Anna Regina and surrounding areas.
Professor Narine said that the plant is operating on a 25% return on investment at current sales volumes and this is expected to increase as higher volumes are demanded by the market and the plant is more efficiently operated over two or three shifts. The facility can produce one tonne of cereal in five hours.
AMTL and the IAST have designed an aggressive programme of marketing outreach – soon to a supermarket near you will be product sampling, product give-aways such as cereal bowls and other aggressive in-store promotions. The product has been making the rounds as AMTL steps up its promotional activities at all the Uncapped events put on by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, and is now easily recognized as one of the flagship high value agro-processed products from Guyana.
The distinctively packaged product is also a great ambassador for Guyana’s pristine green environment, using Guyana’s arable land and fresh water resources and its wholesome, unspoilt environment as the enabling environment for its genesis. Certainly, as the country seeks to find avenues for injection of capital generated from oil and gas, products and projects such as these offer viable, green and sustainable alternatives for investment which accrues to sustainable and well-paid jobs.
With an annual import bill of more than US$4.5 Billion, the Caribbean provides a sound market for well packaged, safe food grown and manufactured in Guyana. Narine also indicated that the Morning Glory brand will be used to roll out additional versions of the cereal and a nutrition bar, already designed and ready to be manufactured at the facility in Anna Regina.
For now, Morning Glory rice cereal continues to be the shining example of collaboration between science and technology, enabling Government investment and the private sector in creating sustainable products and jobs.
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