As author Robert Byrne famously said: “the purpose of life is a life of purpose.” This year, Tropical Sun turns 21, and we’re delighted to say that we are every bit as purposeful as we were in our younger years. From humble beginnings, we now offer several hundred world food products under our banner, and are blessed to bring the flavours of the world to millions of UK and European customers each year – and this makes us extremely proud! This gives us purpose!
In 2017, food standards are thankfully higher than they have ever been, in large part thanks to the free flow of information on the Internet, the work of the Food Standards Agency and the influence of food evangelists such as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, but for those old enough to remember, things were not always this way.
In 1996, the year that Tropical Sun was born, UK customers would have been hard-pushed to buy their favourite international foods – and doing so on any consistent basis would likely have been impossible. Coconut water, jollof seasoning and guava jam were but a distant fantasy for so many of the UK’s ethnic communities who yearned for the taste of home. Having gained valuable experience working in independent food retail and distribution since the early 1970s, we set about raising the standards for world food imports – starting with the most requested Caribbean and African products.
There were many obstacles to overcome. First and foremost, supply was often inconsistent, both in terms of product quality and availability. Secondly, products were generally not packaged in compliance with UK food laws and frequently did not feature barcodes, nutritional and dietary information. And so – we set about conquering these obstacles, invigorated by the knowledge that success would mean that migrant communities would find it easier to stay connected to their cultures, and that British communities would know the pleasures of these exotic world foods for the first time. We had to succeed!
Fast-forward to 2017, and there are now many thriving world foods brands and many more informed and passionate food lovers with a taste for the tropical! We are extremely proud to have been one of the first to have set the movement into motion, and are even more proud of its wider impact. The UK is defined by its diversity of culture and its success in integrating these cultures. Caribbean, African, Asian, European and more working side-by-side for a better future, or as Bob Marley put it: “One love, one heart, let's get together and feel all right”
One love. X
The Tropical Sun Family