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Frozen Asian snack specialists UPB Products is cashing in on one of the Indian food market’s biggest growth areas - snack foods and accompaniments...

Frozen Asian snack specialists UPB Products is cashing in on one of the Indian food market’s biggest growth areas - snack foods and accompaniments - with the launch of a new, authentic selection pack.According to international research group Mintel, the sides and starters sector is currently the hero of a market that may have otherwise reached maturity, having delivered growth of 46% since 2000 to achieve a value of £115m in 2004.

UPB’s new Vegetarian Selection Pack comprises three brand new products and one mainstay, all of which have been designed to meet the growing demand for authenticity, both from Indian food specialists and the mainstream market.

Four unripened green Banana Tikkis (or bhajis), Cassava Tikkis and Lentil Bhajis (vadai) and the company’s already popular Vegetable Samosas make up the selection, which is now on sale in UK Londis convenience stores.

To ensure complete authenticity, the new products use only 100% natural spices and herbs, ground down and bound into the product ready to be cooked and with a two-year shelf life.

UPB director Amit Bhavsar explains: “We are using ingredients that you would find in a local Indian shop. Although some are unusual for a UK mainstream pack, such as cassava (a root vegetable akin to potato), they are staples in authentic Indian cooking. We already supply many of them to the independent sector, but you won’t really have seen them in the larger market.”

Bhavsar says the company developed the range in response to the growing popularity of snacks and accompaniments in the ethnic food market.

“We are gearing ourselves towards that sector and steering away from the ready meals market,” he says. “ Snacks, meal accompaniments or just finger foods to have with a beer are becoming really popular and a lot of supermarkets have caught on to this. But not many companies are producing really authentic food like we provide.”

The Banana Tikki is essentially banana, green chilli, coriander, peanut and onion, and the Cassava Tikki contains cassava, potato, green chilli, coriander, sesame seeds, ginger cumin, green peas, lemon and spices, while the Vadai is flavoured with red chilli, curry leaves, cumin and spices.

UPB supplies UK cash and carrys, supermarkets, caterers, wholesalers and independent retailers. All products are free from artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives.

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