Paradise Foods’ new Group CEO plans to double the business


Paradise Foods Limited is the oldest food manufacturer in Papua New Guinea and its new Group CEO, James Rice, is tasked with ensuring the company is number one across its food categories. In this exclusive interview with Business Advantage PNG, Rice shares his plans to double the business.

Paradise Foods’ Port Moresby plant. Credit: BAI

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): You are originally from the US and have worked in China and other countries, what attracted you to working in PNG and Paradise Foods?

James Rice (JR): This combines two of my favourite things. One is food. Most of my career has been in the food industry—I’m excited about feeding people. The other is that the mandate here is to create jobs, and creating jobs is the second most exciting thing to me. So, to feed people and to lead people to great jobs is what I’m here for.

BAPNG: Paradise Foods is a great brand to build on?

JR: It’s a 70-year-old start-up company. The core of our business is in Port Moresby and Lae. We haven’t hit the Highlands yet, where 80 per cent of the population is, and we are not in the outer islands. So, my line now is that this a 70-year-old company that has so many places to go.

‘The shape of the market in PNG is very similar to what the Chinese market looked like 15 years ago, when it was about to take off.’

We purchased Laga Industries from Steamships and that brings ice-cream and cooking oil into our portfolio. We now lead in five categories: oil, ice-cream, biscuits, water and snacks, with the rest of the geography and the population in the country to go. The goal is to double the business for these five categories in the next three years.

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BAPNG: What’s your appraisal of the retail market in PNG?

JR: Well, that’s how I know we can double our business in the next few years. We are not in the table market and are barely there in the wholesale market.

This all goes back to my experience in China. The shape of the market in PNG is very similar to what the Chinese market looked like 15 years ago, when it was about to take off. This a good time to consolidate and be more detailed about what we’re doing.

We need to be more disciplined to be more successful. We are mapping where every store is, where every market is, so that we can know where they are and check where our product is and where are the black spots. There’s a huge gap to fill and we’re the market leader, so the potential is huge.

BAPNG: What is your strategy with your team?

Paradise Foods’ James Rice walks the floor every week to chat with his employees. Credit: BAI

JR: I walk the floor once a week so employees can ask me anything. Some have figured out they can talk to me, but are not used to it yet. Eventually they will. When I walk the floor, I see all the things that are around—clean bathrooms, lighting conditions, things that are important for all employees. The work environment is important. This affects productivity, morale, quality, and retention.


  1. Angela Foodtree says

    Nice meeting you.

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    We focus on invention and manufacturing of biscuit line,biscuit sandwiching
    machine,packing machine and packing automation.

    We also have good quality and price at PU PVC belt,date prtiner,ink roll,ribbon roll etc is our website.


  2. Lorette Irvin says

    Having James Rice as the CEO is a sure investment for Paradise Foods.

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