Caterers Choice Ltd: Local supplies key ingredient to Chinese food products

Grocery promotion of Caterers Choice Ltd products at a local supermarket. The company manufacturs and pre-packages Chinese stuffed dumplings, samosas, wontons, spring rolls, and other delights.  -
Grocery promotion of Caterers Choice Ltd products at a local supermarket. The company manufacturs and pre-packages Chinese stuffed dumplings, samosas, wontons, spring rolls, and other delights. -

Using local products has always been critical for the business operations of Caterers Choice Ltd, which specialises in manufacturing pre-packaged foods such as Chinese stuffed dumplings, samosas, wontons and spring rolls.

The business, at Pokhor Road, Longdenville, started three years ago, and its director Jeffrey Mouttet said the idea was to bring the delicious finger foods to a larger section of the market at an affordable price.

He told Business Day that at the age of 77, he and a few friends decided to venture into the business, which was challenging because they nose-dived into a pandemic.

“Stuffed dumplings are a lovely item and...considered more of a gourmet dish for the affluent people. So we decided to make a dumpling that everyone could afford, and that was how the business came about.

“As in any new business start-up, we experienced our fair share of teething problems, and the covid19 pandemic did not help. We kept all our workers employed, even if it meant at times their schedule was a four-day work week. (As for) our buyers: although at times it was not huge orders, it was consistent orders and that was helpful to us.”

Caterers Choice Ltd specialises in manufacturing pre-packaged Chinese stuffed dumplings, samosas, wontons and spring rolls - Photos courtesy Caterers Choice Ltd

Despite the economic challenges, he said Caterers Choice Ltd did not raise any of its prices.

Mouttet added that there was a lot of trial and error in getting the products right because of the distinctive palette locals possess when it came to food.

The top priority was taste, he explained, and they did widespread sampling and feedback research.

“With the many different tastes and cultures we have, finding the right balance was important. We did get negative comments about the taste, size and shape. We immediately went back to the drawing board and eventually arrived at the perfect formulation of seasoning and preparation techniques to delight the Caribbean tastebuds.”

Mouttet said most of the ingredients were supplied by local farmers, with the exception of shrimp, and the packaging and labelling were also done locally. He says the business will continue to use locally produced ingredients and other local suppliers and distributors.

“Our meats, flour, vegetables, seasonings, labels and bags are 100 per cent local, so we have no problem with foreign exchange. Sourcing fresh local ingredients of the highest quality keeps costs down, while supporting our local farmers and industries.”

Director of Caterers Choice Ltd, Jeffrey Mouttet. -

Mouttet added that the factory and the processing plant have been internationally certified and the handling and refrigerated transport of the food items, from factory to the supermarket chillers, also met international standards.

Short-term goals included supplying caterers, especially with Christmas festivities right around the corner, he said, and expanding to community groceries and shops.

“We are also looking at promoting it to bars as a cutter for their patrons. It will be an inexpensive cutter.

“We currently have eight employees, and we also do deliveries and merchandising to all the groceries that carry our products. With expansion we are hopeful of creating jobs for people in the community we operate in, as well as the farmers and suppliers."

Workers at Caterers Choice Ltd in Longdenville package products to be delivered to supermarkets. -

One of the company’s medium to long-term goals is to expand into other Caribbean countries.

“We are in talks with people from Guyana and other regional markets. We have also gotten some interest from crew boat workers from oil companies and we also approached the hospitals and hotels.

“With the covid19 pandemic and the state of emergency in particular, it is going to be difficult for us, as a small business, to implement a shift system for workers and increase manufacturing. But it is something to look forward to.”

Pointing out that the pandemic has also created more intimate gatherings, Mouttet believes the company's products would be a great addition to birthday parties, house limes, weddings, thanksgivings or even as just a snack.

The company has been working on wontons in chicken and vegetables, shrimp and vegetables, pork and vegetables, beef and vegetables, and vegetables only, which will be available soon.

Caterers Choice Ltd products can be found at Massy, Xtra Foods, Tru Valu, JTA, Persads, Southern Meats, Blooms, West Bees, Price Club, Jenny’s on the Boulevard and many smaller participants islandwide.


"Caterers Choice Ltd: Local supplies key ingredient to Chinese food products"

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