Barbados’ “Heritage” ice cream company is preparing for a long anticipated homecoming with a new modern factory scheduled to be ready and producing before the 2019 winter season.
BICO Executive Chairman, Edwin Thirlwell said architects, engineers and suppliers are already fully engaged with the project. The original factory was destroyed by fire in 2009.
In announcing the good news, Thirlwell thanked government for its support, confirming that the new facility would retain the BICOs manufacturing status that would be vital for the factory’s competitiveness in markets, local, regional and beyond.
He said customer satisfaction remained BICO’s top priority and confirmed the new facility would be equipped to produce a wider range of products and flavours to meet customers demand. The new facility will also include a visitor gallery to enable factory visits by groups, without compromising HACCP food safety standards, with a hospitality room to sample and entertain locals and visitors.
Thirlwell added that in the meantime, customers can expect new lower prices across the full range of BICO products beginning from Friday, April 12, and available island wide from participating retailers, BICO mobilers, and from the BICO Direct Outlet.
In addition to continued support from customers and government, the Executive Chairman emphasised the importance of enforcing a “level playing field” being essential for the viability of local manufacturing. He noted that by law imported ice cream products from outside CARICOM are subject to duties and a bound rate in order to encourage regional manufacturers in various industries. Added to that, large overseas producers in the US, Canada, the UK and Latin America enjoy subsidies and economies of scale which are not available in Barbados or the region.
At the same time, Thirlwell said, packaging and labelling standards compliant with the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) and those of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs must be “consciously and consistently applied for the protection of consumers by the regulatory agencies”. (PR)