Tortilla wraps, halloumi and Cambozola cheese never used to be found in many shoppers’ baskets. However, new data from Waitrose shows how they and a wide range of other products are now everyday ‘must haves’.
The findings come from analysis of the supermarket’s £1 billion range, ‘essential Waitrose’, which has seen around 300 new products added since it was launched in 2009. Growing in line with food trends and responding to consumer demand, the additions mean that products as varied as artichoke hearts, coconut milk and tortelloni are now branded ‘essential’.
And in taking a look at the highest-rated ‘essential’ products*, coconut ring biscuits rank in the range’s 10 most popular items and fruit juice ice lollies are the fastest growing in the range.
Our changing tastes have in part been shaped by cuisines which have become popular since the essential range was launched, with Mexican, Middle Eastern and Greek foods now firmly in the mainstream. Jonathan Moore, Waitrose executive chef, gives examples: “Tortilla wraps are the second best-selling essential Waitrose product in the bakery aisle (second only to the baguette). We now sell five different types of essential Waitrose houmous and they make up 82% of all essential Waitrose dip sales. Also, sales of essential Waitrose Cypriot Halloumi have risen 24% over the last year – it’s one of the most popular cheeses we sell.”
Cheese is a big focus in the essential range. While Parmesan takes the top spot in the speciality range, it’s the less familiar Cambozola, a German soft cheese, which is now the second most popular.
Away from the novel, though, some old favourites never change. The most popular essential Waitrose category is fruit and vegetables, with strawberries the best-selling fruit, carrots top for vegetables and cucumbers the most popular salad item. Meanwhile, sales of essential Waitrose blueberries have grown 25% in the past year.
Martin George, Customer Director at Waitrose, comments: “It’s been fascinating to look at our sales trends to see what have become must-have items in our customers’ eyes. From chamomile soap and baby avocados, to our latest additions to the range – quark and pickled beetroot – consumer tastes are much broader now, and this is reflected in the array of products which are now ‘essential’.”
The supermarket has released its findings to coincide with the launch of a major advertising campaign for ‘essential Waitrose’.