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Have you noticed any trends or evolution in the condiment sector in recent times?
There’s a big push on vegan and plant-based replacement products, e.g. mayonnaise, which is of course across the board, some are really great. A Little Bit Lemon and Herb Vegan Mayo is a popular one and we also use it in our sandwiches.
Gut health is also really important. We sell a huge amount of Kimchi, the Bottlebrush Red One particularly, it’s really delicious and also used in our menu. Leading on from that are also zero waste products like Pain in the Butt Hot Sauce from the Urban Fermentery which takes kimchi waste, adds flavour and creates a delicious hot sauce!
The big push at the moment seems to be reduced or zero sugar. Something we’re looking harder at, we are all learning together here.
Spice always seems to sell well in the shop. We have recently started stocking Payst Sauces, the burnt chilli is really good, as are their curry pastes. Chilli jam in all its forms as a cheese accompaniment doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and rightly so.
How do you upsell condiments in your shop?
This is really about understanding the customer and paying attention to what they are buying! Being small does make it easier for us to really know what customers like, what they can and can’t eat, and knowing if they will like something that goes with their basket. I have a weird memory for peoples’ likes and dislikes where foods are concerned (but don’t quiz me on the names or ages of people’s children!)
If you know someone is vegan and you are stocking a new sauce, walk around and show it to them, I do. Even better if they are buying something which goes with it. They might not buy it today but could be back another day.
But even if you don’t know the customer and they have cheese and crackers in their basket, offer chutney. We also keep mini jars out the back for hampers and if someone doesn’t want to invest in a whole jar I’ll sell them a small one, if they like it, they will come back and get the larger jar.
I think if you can recommend products with confidence, customers will buy them. This is why sample jars are so important. We never waste them and everyone in the shop will try them, both staff and customers, and we’ll discuss how and what we’d use the condiment. If it doesn’t fit in the shop with another product, we generally don’t stock it.