“Consumers are no longer afraid to step outside of their comfort zones when it comes to cuisine and they are subsequently seeking new and exciting foods” – especially “spicy/hot flavors and international/ethnic offerings” like those that characterize Indian cuisine, Adam Buckley, international sales director at Premier Foods, told FoodNavigator-USA.
This is fueling a booming Indian-restaurant business in the US, which is now 5,000 restaurants strong and growing, he said.
He added that Sharwood’s is tapping into this interest and growth by offering a full line of pre-made Indian sauces that make “it easy for consumers to replicate their favorite Indian flavors at home” by simply popping open a jar of its sauce, pouring it over cooked protein and pairing with vegetables, rice and puppodums.
The bold flavors and convenience of the sauce line are helping sales of Sharwood’s Indian sauces, which launched in the US in 2010, grow nearly 37% in the past year – outpacing the more than 20% growth of the entire category, Buckley said.
He explained the brand is able to grow so quickly in part because it offers such a “broad range of different flavors and heat levels to accommodate all palates.”
That said, he noted the best-selling flavors in the US are the company’s tomato-based Tikka Masala, a mild Butter Chicken and a creamy Korma.
Encouraging sales with weekly Indian dinners
The brand hopes to further develop American’s taste for Indian food – which Buckley says is a growing trend that is not going away – and help them satisfy their “curry-osity” by establishing a designated curry night once a week.
“We decided that curry night would be best suited for Thursday as it is a perfect way to kick off the weekend with a fun and impressive meal for family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.,” Buckley said. “Since curry is best when shared, it was easy for us to envision family and friends gathering around the TV to watch must-see prime time lineup, Thursday night football or having a game night with curry being the perfect meal to accompany the fun.”
Recognizing that Thursdays are still work nights for many Americans and, therefore, time is more limited than on the weekends, Buckley emphasized how Sharwood’s “line of professionally prepped cooking sauces remove the stress and the time taken to prepare an authentic curry meal.”
He said using Sharwood’s sauces is akin to “taking a jar of marinara out of the cupboard to make a big Italian feast.”
The brand’s products also are almost as pervasive as marinara sauce with distribution in more than 4,000 stores nationwide at retailers including Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Publix, Whole Foods and others for about $4 a jar.
Beyond its campaign to make Thursdays “curry night,” Sharwood’s wants to drive additional growth “by exploring a range of new formats, accompaniments and flavors” that are easy to eat at home, Buckley said.
He added: “We believe that the Indian cooking sauces category has only scratched the surface of its success.”