Bringing Hill’s Jamaican Jerk Sauce to the world one bottle at a time
Thursday, July 30, 2020
“Starting a business was obviously new for me. Nova Scotia Business Inc. helped lead me in the right direction, and then that's all I needed. They don't really hold your hand; they just lead you in the right direction.”
Many companies new to exporting get overwhelmed when they first start looking to sell their products and services outside the province. It can be especially challenging when that product is food.
For Paul Hill, making jerk sauce for friends and family was something casual he loved to do. Encouraged by those same friends and family, Hill started thinking about taking that next step and possibly selling his jerk sauce. Nothing over the top, just a local presence with some community farmer’s markets and small sellers.
But then something not entirely expected started to happen. Sales steadily increased, and bigger retailers started calling. This unexpected growth meant Hill needed to (and fairly quickly) increase production. A significant challenge, compounded by the recent loss of his spot at a HACCP-certified* co-packing facility where he was mass-producing his jerk sauce certified for sale outside the province. Quick to pivot, Hill was able to purchase his own facility in 2019, a massive undertaking requiring extensive planning, training, and organization.
*HACCP certification is an international standard defining the requirements for effective control of food safety.
Today, Hill’s extensive 1,175 square foot facility has everything he needs for his jerk sauce production and more. With features like a 36” 4-burner commercial size stove, a char broiler gas grill, a double basket deep fryer and 12-gallon tilt kettle, filling and capping labelling machines, and a commercial size dishwasher, walk-in cooler and freezer, Hill's new co-packing facility has brought to life a surprising new pivot for supporting Nova Scotia farmers, producers, and entrepreneurs. With a limited number of co-packing facilities in the province, Hill hopes to bring on more clients, keeping food production local, while also providing an HACCP certified location for other entrepreneurs looking to export.
Now that Hill has been able to meet his production goals (as well as helping others), what’s next for his Jamaican Jerk Sauce? Hill plans to continue exporting his products to the rest of Canada and eventually look at international markets. Right now, Hill is focusing on a new product launch and growing his co-packing business.
Much of Hill’s success in overcoming obstacles was a direct result of trial and error, setting achievable goals along the way, and networking with the right people. “I didn't come into this business pretending to have a lot of knowledge about the business. I came in with an open mind, and you have to have an open mind when you run a business.”
“Knowing the right people is huge. Working with Nova Scotia Business Inc. has opened that up for me and introduced me to key partners like Perennia in my export journey.”
His advice for other Nova Scotia business considering export? “What are you waiting for? Do your research. Reach out to Nova Scotia Business Inc. Feel out the market and grow your business.” Do you think NSBI could assist you in achieving your export goals? Connect with your local Regional Business Advisor today to learn more.
Photos courtesy of original photographer Andrew Tolson and Perennia.
To learn more about Hill's Jamaican Jerk Sauce export story, check out the infographic below.