From East to West – Waitrose Grows Japanese Range

Sales of ingredients for Japanese dishes have seen strong year on year growth at British grocer Waitrose & Partners, including umami paste up 89%, shiitake mushrooms up 24% and yuzu juice up 17%.

Searches on continue to show the trend that home cooks are keen to explore Japanese cuisine, with monthly searches for ‘Japanese recipes’ up 21% year on year. Recipes that are particularly popular are’Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake)’ with views up 5,500%, ‘Japanese-style shredded vegetable pancakes’ up 320% and ‘Japanese miso fishcakes with noodle salad’ up 167% compared to last year.

In light of this growing appetite, Waitrose has recently added more Japanese products such as tonkatsu sauce and miso paste to its Cooks’ Ingredients private brand range, which includes key ingredients from cuisines from around the world, and has plans to launch new products into the line later this year.

Jenna Doran-Twyford, Cooks’ Ingredients buyer at Waitrose & Partners, comments, “Japanese cuisine has been a staple on the British restaurant scene for years, but sales show our shoppers are becoming more experimental with their cooking as they look to recreate more authentic meals at home.”

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.