Grace Foods UK, the UK’s leading supplier of Caribbean food and drink*1, is enabling retailers to take advantage of rising consumer demand for exciting new flavours from around the world.

ALOE-VERA-NPD The company, which accounts for more than one third of all Caribbean food and drink sold in the UK*1, boasts a broad range of products and ingredients including spicy sauces range Encona, nutritionally enriched milk drink Nurishment and Grace Aloe Vera drinks range.

“This is an exciting time for the world cuisine sector, with growing numbers of consumers expanding their taste horizons and seeking new and exotic flavours,” says Nyree Chambers, Head of Marketing for Grace Foods UK. “This applies both to home cooking, where consumers are looking to scratch-cook more adventurous dishes, and to on-the-go products such as soft drinks where exciting flavours and functional needs are becoming ever more popular.”

This trend is reflected in the impressive growth of the Afro-Caribbean category, which is worth over £91 million in the UK, growing at +5.0% in value.*1

“Grace Foods UK is growing fast at +17.5% in value yoy*1,” says Chambers. “We are perfectly placed to meet the needs of consumers looking for authentic taste experiences thanks to our unique heritage in the category and our range of long-trusted food and drink brands.”

Much of this growth is being driven by soft drinks: the ‘Soft Drinks’ Caribbean sub-category accounts for 41.2% of the value sales.*1

Grace Foods UK is meeting the demand for refreshing, functional beverages with Grace Aloe Vera Drink.  Grace Aloe is a great-tasting, refreshing drink made with real aloe vera that appeals to consumers seeking new and exciting alternatives to traditional juices and flavoured water offerings.

“Grace Aloe, a refreshing drink full of the natural benefits of the aloe vera plant, is an ideal thirst-quenching beverage,” says Chambers.

“Thirst-quenching soft drinks are the perfect addition to fixtures. Consumers are often looking for something a little bit different when it comes to soft drinks, and offering beverages with exciting flavours is a sure-fire way to drive sales.

The company recently launched a new flavour into the Aloe Vera Drinks range and introduced two of the most popular flavours in larger pack formats. Grace Aloe Vera Peach Flavour Drink (500ml) launches alongside Grace Aloe Vera Mango Flavour Drink and Grace Aloe Vera Strawberry Flavour Drink into 1.5ltr take-home packs.

“Grace Aloe Vera Peach flavour scored extremely well in consumer research on new flavours. Alongside the addition of the larger pack sizes, which will allow retailers to maximise take-home sales, we’re confident that the new products will add incremental growth and consumer choice,” add Chambers.

Nurishment, the UK’s number one nutritionally enriched milk drink*1, is another must-stock for retailers. Nutritionally enriched milk is the second biggest sub-category of Caribbean value sales, of which Nurishment Original has a 91.1% value share.*1

Nurishment supplies consumers with much of the day-to-day goodness they need, including vitamins, minerals, calcium and protein. It can be used to kick start the day, as a ‘top-up’ for busy people who have missed a meal, or whenever consumers need a nutritional boost.

The Nurishment range is available in several formats. Brand loyalists continue to buy the iconic Nurishment Original cans in record numbers, while Nurishment Extra in a 310ml PET format is ideal for drinking on the move.

Nurishment Active builds on the success of Nurishment Original.  Developed to help consumers ‘get back their spark’, after sports or exercise, low-fat Nurishment Active contains 35g of protein per pack plus a unique and complementary blend of 22 vitamins and minerals. It combines both whey (fast acting) and casein (slow releasing) proteins which contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about exercise, and understand that by consuming the right blend of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein after exercise, they can help their bodies stay at their best,” says Chambers. “Nurishment Active presents a simple solution – and as it’s served in a handy 500ml bottle it also meets the demand for convenience.”

A major support programme for Nurishment Active this year, includes an outdoor campaign and national advertising in sports titles which is set to drive awareness to an all-time high.

With scratch cooking on the rise, Grace Foods UK is particularly proud of its range of authentic Encona Sauces, the UK’s number one hot pepper sauce brand*2 which comprises sauces inspired by flavours around the world.

“Consumers are starting to realise just how easy it can be to create Caribbean dishes with incredible flavours,” says Chambers. “As a result, they are turning to retailers to supply them with the ingredients they need – and the authentic Encona Sauces range is the perfect solution.”

“The versatility of the Encona Sauces range enables consumers to add exciting world flavours to any meal, and retailers to generate maximum profits. The sauces can be used for a wide range of cooking occasions; whether it is as an ingredient for cooking, a marinade before grilling, as a pour over on the BBQ, as a table sauce or simply as a dressing or a dip.”

The Encona Sauces brand has recently undergone a label refresh across the whole range, creating greater standout on-shelf which is designed to attract shoppers to the fixture.

“We’ve found that consumer interest in hotter flavours continues to grow. Our Extra Hot Pepper Sauce remains our third best-selling flavour with value sales +65.5% YOY, and we would expect this interest in hotter variants to continue.

“At the same time, we also recognise that milder sauces have great appeal, with our Sweet Mango Chilli flavour proving popular with families looking for a milder sauce to be enjoyed around the dinner table and during barbecues.”

Encona’s range of 14 sauces provides retailers with a diverse selection of flavours from around the world, from mild to extra hot, to cater to a broad spectrum of consumer tastes.

“Such is the consumer interest in Caribbean food and drink that this year we will celebrate the fourth annual Caribbean Food Week. The celebration of Caribbean food and drink takes place 25-31 August and will include sampling, PR and social media activity to boost demand for Caribbean cuisine.

“Our advice to retailers is simple,” adds Chambers. “With demand for authentic world ingredients higher than ever, stock up on recognised, authentic cooking ingredients and ready-to-consume products and your sales will soar.”

*1  IRI UK Afro-Caribbean Food and Drink Category – MAT 52 w/e 28 January 2015.

*2  IRI UK Table Sauces (Chilli) Category – MAT 52 w/e 3rd January 2015.

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