GRACE, KENNEDY & CO. LTD.
- 82 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS GROWTH
Eighty-two years of continuous growth has made Grace, Kennedy one
of the largest and most dynamic corporate entities in Jamaica and
the Caribbean. The company which began its life as a small trading
establishment on February 14, 1922, has expanded and diversified
over the years. Today it comprises a formidable network of some
45 subsidiaries and associated companies, employing approximately
2000 people and operating in the areas of shipping, distribution,
finance, information technology, food manufacturing and tourism.
A keen awareness of the changing demands of the market place continues
to shape the Company's development. Historically one of the Group's
core activities has centred on food distribution of products manufactured
in its three Jamaica-based factories as well as those manufactured,
to its specifications in other countries. The company's insistence
on the high quality of the products it distributes has made it the
leading food distribution and a household name in Jamaica.
The company has been involved in a process of dynamic change since
1996 when it articulated its basic policies in a programme which
it called "2020 Vision." The Vision described the Grace,
Kennedy of the future among other things, as comprising strong viable
business units, giving value to its customers, continuously increasing
productivity, ethical in its business conduct, responsible members
of its community and truly international.
This vision has led to an ongoing process of adaptation and change
to meet a rapidly changing local and international environment.
The Company today comprises five Divisions - Retail & Trading,
Financial Services, Food Trading, Maritime Information Services.
Within these Divisions, change continues to be a constant with divestment
of unprofitable entities balanced by the strategic acquisitions
Despite this reality, Grace, Kennedy continues to show increasing
profitability, the result of the efforts of a highly motivated and
While Food Trading continues to be dominant, its pre-eminent position
is being increasingly challenged by Divisions such as Financial
Services and Information Services.
A relaunch of the Grace brand in 1998 signalled the beginning of
the thrust - to vastly expand its overseas sales; its goal to become
the premier supplier of traditional Caribbean foods to ethnic and
other markets. This thrust is defined by one of the Company's slogans
"Satisfying the unmet needs of Caribbean people wherever we
live in the world." This goal is being relentlessly pursued
and early successes suggest that the policy should reap handsome
dividends in the future.
Operating on the principle that the success of the company is inextricably
linked to that of the society in which it operates, Grace, Kennedy
has contributed generously to various areas of national development
through the years. In addition to providing financial assistance
to a host of worthy causes Grace, Kennedy has institutionalised
its programme of support by establishing a number of Foundations.
These include the Grade, Kennedy Foundation, which focuses on giving
assistance in the area of education, the Luis Fred Kennedy Environmental
Foundation which concentrates on programmes for the protection of
the environment, and the Staff Foundations which offers assistance
to inner city communities.
Most noteworthy are the Homework centres organised and run by the
Grace & Staff Foundation. At these centres, youngsters may study
in an environment conducive to learning. They are assisted by voluntary
teachers drawn from Grace, Kennedy's staff as well as from the wider
society. The centres have become modes for other groups wishing
to offer assistance in inner-city communities.
In its 82 years of existence, Grace, Kennedy has weathered many
social, political and economic storms, emerging each time a stronger
and more resilient organisation. Current trends strongly suggest
that the company will continue to meet the challenges of the current
international environment where the process of globalization fundamentally
affects the way business develops - moreso in a small developing
country such as Jamaica.