ABOUT THE COMPANY
Flavorite foods was established over thirty years ago in anticipation of a need for quality frozen deserts of international standards with a true Caribbean Identity.
In conjunction with Beatrice Foods, a large US company involved in the manufacture and distribution of chocolates, candies, ice cream and dairy products, the stage was set for the launch of what was to become the clear market leader in the industry.
Today, Flavorite is synonymous with excellent service, quality products and consistent innovation.
Through its existing agents and joint venture partners, the Company is set on an exponential growth plan aimed at creating a World Brand. Based on the past track record, this goal should be easily achieved.
Mr Vernon Charles,
Our Founding Father
ON A BRIEF VISIT TO TRINIDAD IN OUR ANNIVERSARY YEAR,
SPEAKS WITH COMPANY SECRETARY, LILA ACKBARALI
DID I DO THE RIGHT THING 25 YEARS AGO?
LILA ACKBARALI: What made you decide to move in 1970 from the modest beginnings in Mucurapo to the current premises here in San Juan?
VERNON CHARLES: It all began because of a company called Beatrice Foods in the USA, who were manufacturers of Chocolates, Candies, Ice Cream and Dairy Products. They approached us, i.e. my brothers and myself, to purchase 70% of Solo and Holiday Foods. Approval was given by the Government for the sale, but my brothers decided against the divestment of shares in Solo and decided to proceed with setting up an ice cream plant on a new site. In order to do this I had to buy out one of the local Ice Cream companies, and I approached Jack Frost who owned Jellit and the purchase was made. In all this I had in mind innovation and expansion - not merely preserving the "status quo".
LILA ACKBARALI: Did you have any partners or business alliances at the time?
VERNON CHARLES: It was this time that we reached an agreement with Beatrice Foods, as a result of which we were provided with designs, layout and technical services identifying the right equipment and assistance in procuring it. I stress that we decided to go into the manufacture of impulse items - novelties, as they are sometimes called - in a big way, and not keep to the traditional "take-home" ice cream.
LILA ACkBARALI: Did you have any difficulty obtaining the required approval from Government in seeking to put down a plant in what was mainly a residential area at tile time?
VERNON CHARLES: None whatsoever. We submitted all our plans to the Town & Country Division and these were formally approved within a reasonable time. Our biggest problem was reliable electricity and we had to provide a stand-by generator from the outset.
LILA ACKBARALI: What made you decide to enter the impulse/novelty market?
VERNON CHARLES: I had seen these products on my visit to Beatrice Foods and noted that these were being marketed to reach the widest range of customers. This was the objective I had in mind, i.e. to make them to the highest international standards and have the widest national distribution. In order to achieve the latter I felt that one of the best outlets would be gas stations. It was here that Mr. Vivian Kangalee, then President of the Petroleum Dealers Association, was instrumental in getting Gas Station owners in as shareholders and distributors. This was a most telling move as with the installation of refrigerated cabinets in almost every gas station in the country, direct sales of our new novelty range to the consumer immediately became a highly successful operation.
LILA ACKBARALI: Do you recall any incident from the old days that had an important effect on the Company?
VERNON CHARLES: With everything in place to start, we found that the name "Snojoy", which we had decided to use as our brand name, was already registered. As a result Johnny Boos, who was a director at the time, came up with the name "Flavorite" using the heart in the middle of the name to enhance the product image. The new name was approved with acclamation at an emergency meeting held with approximately seventy shareholders late one afternoon in Port of Spain.
LILA ACKBARALI: Looking at the business today and comparing it with when you left twenty-five years ago, what strikes you the most?
VERNON CHARLES: The novelty industry has just grown out of sight! So many great products, as good as anything being produced abroad! Also, Ive learnt that Flavorite has gone after the export market with excellent results in recent years. Both of these are great success stories, and I am happy to see how far the company has progressed.
LILA ACKBARALI: So you did the right thing?
VERNON CHARLES: Yes, on every count!