Hill’s Jamaican Jerk Sauce finds home in Sobeys stores
When Paul Hill moved to Halifax from the Caribbean, there were two things he missed: the weather and the food. So he began to focus on the one thing he could actually change.
“I had been making jerk sauce for a long time and when I moved to Canada in 1994 I began making it for friends and family,” he said. “It constantly evolved as I experimented with ingredients. Five years ago I went back to Jamaica and that’s when things changed.”
While in the market in Montego Bay where his mother has a store, he was overcome with a savoury smell and discovered it was pimento. He took some home, put it in his jerk sauce and it totally changed the flavour.
“This was a turning point for me,” he said. “My friends always encouraged me to sell the sauce and after that trip home, I began to take that idea seriously.”
Paul, owner of Hill’s Jamaican Jerk, carries medium and hot jerk sauces, and now three different barbecue sauce flavours. He began small and home-based. But when his sauce was introduced to Pete’s Frootique in 2016, it only took eight months before his sauce was on the shelves of 22 Sobeys locations.
Outgrowing his home kitchen, he began building a new 1,172 square food kitchen facility. Key to a successful expansion was getting Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification, which would open up markets across Canada. That’s when he approached Perennia.
“The Perennia team helped with the building specs, sourced products, advised me on things I knew nothing about, like materials for walls and floors, and they did the product testing and labeling,” he said. “They helped us pass the certification, which will help us expand throughout Canada and the world.”
Paul’s vision for the facility has opened up opportunities for other food producers too. As the only facility of its kind in the area, he happily works with others on their products and co-packaging.
Before the new kitchen and HACCP certification, Paul’s sights were set on Sobeys. With that achieved, he now has higher ambitions. “Our next goal is to get the product across Canada. Then I’d love to export my product to Jamaica, the US and the UK. I wouldn’t have these aspirations if it wasn’t for the experts at Perennia.”