Cost Sector Catering: What are the challenges for the stocks and sauces sector?
David Bryant: Major International opened its UK doors in 1989. Ten years ago, a joint venture was formed between our parent companies Major Products in the US and Vika in the Netherlands. While Brexit may have struck and poses a challenge, we are confident that our partnership will continue to prosper.
In 2016, Major International opened its state-of-the art manufacturing facility in the UK to cater for the growing demand for stocks, sauces and bespoke products made from British ingredients on British soil.
We should view Brexit as an incredible challenge. We’ve been dealt the hand and now we play the cards we were given so let’s be positive. I believe the future will be bright and the opportunities are immense.
With a nation bent on healthy eating and increasingly stricter guidelines being imposed, salt and sugar content is an ongoing challenge, which shows no sign of abating. Fortunately, our products meet the current specifications.
Are you working on any new initiatives?
Fuelled by the popularity of street food and pop ups, the option to offer customisation has become a vital factor when it comes to staying competitive.
This year we’ve been piloting our new “simply grab and go” concept to show how using our readymade products, chefs can make this a reality on their menus while staying on budget. From customisable gourmet burgers to sides, condiments, super bowl food and broth pots, we demonstrate that with minimal effort chefs can maximise on profits.
What advice are you offering customers?
We are big believers in helping chefs to simply cook with our products. This is why we developed our Simply Taste concept. Our customers are treated as partners; we strive to provide them with quality products and a quality service by offering innovative, bespoke menu development, on site training, trends presentations and marketing materials.
With the number of dietary requirements that chefs have to consider these days, they need to have peace of mind when generating menus. This is why our products are gluten-free and clearly labelled. Our products carry the Soil Association stamp of approval, suitable products have the Vegetarian Society approved sticker, and, where stated, many of our products are suitable for vegans and halal. With our free suitability chart, busy chefs can crosscheck our products to see if they are diet specific, contain any allergens, and check salt content when used at the recommended amount.
What are your bestsellers?
The desire for more creative recipe concepts and familiarity with world cuisine has had a positive effect on the stocks and sauces market. While our award-winning stock base pastes continue to perform well, our Mari Bases and Pan-Asian ranges have become good sellers. Pipping more traditional flavours to the post, our piri piri and fajita marinades and vegetable Pan-Asian broth are contenders at the top, and our Moroccan Mari Base is a steady riser. But hot on their heels, our new Korean Mari Base is gaining momentum. However, it is our beef, vegetable and chicken Stock Base powders that continue to be our bestsellers in the cost sector.
What trends do you see emerging in this sector?
We’re lucky to have an amazing team, which is always on the look out for the next big thing. Collectively our UK NPD, development chefs, sales team, technical and marketing staff collaborate with Major Products in the US to keep us abreast of the latest trends in the industry here and in America.
Responding to the call for more exotic flavours, based on our trends analysis we spotted a gap in the market for a Korean-inspired Mari Base: a rich authentic blend of chilli, garlic and ginger with toasted sesame oil. Having launched it in October 2016, our Korean concept is now in full swing in universities throughout the country and ready to go into B&I facilities imminently.