Since its nascence in 1991, Baron Foods St. Lucia has positioned itself as a leading agro-processor and garnered much international acclaim. Now the company is reaffirming its commitment to local investment, employment creation, and economic stimulation through a multimillion-dollar expansion to its Vieux-Fort operation.
The manufacturing sector has proven to stimulate the economy organically and benefits the population both directly and indirectly. Invest Saint Lucia continues to facilitate manufacturing and agro-processing businesses throughout the island and has worked with Baron Foods from inception.
Executive director Ronald Ramjattan Jr. revealed that Baron’s global export demand has increased by up to 60% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. This spurred the company to expand its production capacity, with plans for a new 100,000 sq. ft. factory shell space in Vieux Fort on a seven-acre property purchased from Invest Saint Lucia. The larger facility will also necessitate the addition of at least 50 to 100 new employees.
“We’ve overgrown the space and we kind of figured it was time we reignite that relationship with Invest Saint Lucia,” said Ramjattan. “So, they were very open and willing and ready to work with us to see our expansion plans come to fruition.”
The property will house Baron Distribution Ltd, a hub from which all exports and local sales will originate. There are also plans for the diversification of the product line to include snacks and paper products via the newly formed Baron Foods Group of Companies. Currently the brand offers over 150 Caribbean-style food products to the world, with a range of sauces, condiments, spices, and beverages. The moves reflect their dedication to exemplary customer service and satisfaction.
“We’ve always been developing our packaging, our product, our quality and our standards and…our employees, so I think that plays a big factor in our success,” explained Ramjattan. He also gave a nod to the farmers whose produce is the backbone of the operation.
“With higher exports, the demand for their products will be much higher and of course that is supporting the entire economy.”
CEO of Invest Saint Lucia, Roderick Cherry, says that “The professional relationship between Baron Foods and ISL can be traced back to the former’s start-up days and ISL has followed their progress to this day. That first interaction has now blossomed into a trusted connection between Baron Foods and ISL.”
Investment Services Manager at ISL, Alana Lansiquot, says that the agency is elated about this expansion. “They’ve been a tenant of ours since the early 90s and they’ve grown as an international brand. Their success is a testament to the kind of business environment that Saint Lucia has for similar businesses, local and international, to set up and expand outwards from here.”
Groundbreaking on the new facility is estimated to begin January 2022 with completion set for 2024. Until then the company continues to operate in Vieux Fort with its full pre-Covid complement of staff.