Salt-free sauce: the start of a new category?

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags High blood pressure Sauce Taste New product development

Hampstead Farm sauces are designed to appeal to consumers worried about salt intake
Hampstead Farm sauces are designed to appeal to consumers worried about salt intake
Brighton-based firm Hampstead Farm aims to woo health-conscious consumers with a four-strong range of salt-free cooking sauces the firm's founder believes could establish a new sub-category within 'free-from' retail offerings.

Founder and director Kevin Stone said he had the inspiration for the products after being hospitalised with high blood pressure. "The doctor said, 'start exercising and cut down on salt consumption'."

However, when Stone began scrutinising restaurant menus and retailers' shelves for low salt products, he found his options were severely limited. This set him on the new product development track. "16M people in the UK have high blood pressure. People deserve to have a choice and they don't have it at the moment."

Natural seasonings

The range, which consists of Red Chilli & Ginger; Ginger & Lime; Madras; and Arrabiata variants, is being manufactured by fine food firm Bennett Opie, which is based in Sittingbourne, Kent. Stone said: "The team has invested a lot of time getting the recipes just right, using a range of natural seasonings such as chilli; herbs and lemon juice. We wanted them to appeal not only to people who have to cut down their salt, but also those who want to try to adopt a healthier way of eating for all of their family."

He wanted to create something that could be appreciated as a tasty, high quality product and preferred by people who had no related health concerns, he said. "Ideally I would like us to be on the shelf next to Lloyd Grossman sauces."

No set salt replacers were used. The company just took pains to include a balance of ingredients to provide a strong, blended flavour. "We started by making lots of different things.

Biggest hurdle

"It wasn't until a few months ago that we got things absolutely right. The biggest hurdle was giving that taste sensation."​ During taste trials in Brighton, "nobody knew there was no salt in the product"​, said Stone.

"We are hoping if things go well that we will bring in more products later. There are four sauces in the range at the moment. We will see how we go. If we are successful there are lots of things I would like to look at not just sauces, but it would be at least a year before we do anything else. There are also export possibilities."

Stone is in discussions with major retailers to establish product listings and aims to launch the sauces officially at the Food & Drink Expo trade show at Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. The event is being organised by William Reed Business Media and will take place on March 25–27.

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