Fiji to benefit from locally-made cinnamon and vanilla bean pastes
Spices of Fiji, the country’s oldest spice company, and the University of the South Pacific were behind the development and launch of the new gourmet pastes which can be used for cooking, flavouring drinks and other culinary uses.
The team worked closely with the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA), a program funded by the Australian and New Zealand Government aid programs.
According to Spices of Fiji General Manager, George Hazelman, these new pastes are much more than a ‘taste sensation’.
“If popular, our locally-made pastes will raise the profile of Fiji’s spices industry and increase our capacity to expand. This will potentially provide many Fijian growers opportunities to work with Spices of Fiji to supply world-class resorts around the country, and to put local produce on supermarket shelves and in kitchen cupboards here and overseas.
Mr Hazelman said stringent quality and taste tests were carried out on the products prior to their release.
“It has taken several years of development and a lot of trial and error to reach the product-release stage.
“Consumer taste surveys showed that the new vanilla bean paste was preferred over two commercially available products. And the cinnamon paste is the first commercially available form of this popular spice.”
Chefs at local resorts have also indicated their interest in using the products to give their guests genuine Fijian products and tastes. Internationally, the high-quality pastes are expected to soon be available in Australia and New Zealand.
During the product launch, DFAT Regional Counsellor Solstice Middleby said that Australia recognises and supports the importance of agriculture in terms of improving the livelihoods of Fijians.
“It is through innovative private-sector/research partnerships, such as the Spices of Fiji support, that we can collectively help develop value-added agricultural sectors and build more sustainable livelihoods for Fiji’s growers,” said Solstice Middleby.
Photograph caption: Spices of Fiji General Manager, George Hazelman, is pictured at the product launch.