Tubby Tom’s expands production capacity to meet huge demand
Midlands hot sauce and spice mix producer Tubby Tom’s is expanding into new premises to keep up with the increase in demand the brand has seen since the effects of coronavirus hit the UK in 2020.
The Great Taste-winning company is doubling its manufacturing space by moving into a new unit two doors down from its current base in Gloucester, while owner Tom Hughes said the current production unit will be transformed into a test and show kitchen for NPD and social media cooking demos.
The brand has seen exponential growth since last year, owing to the popularity of the Shop Local movement and huge growth in online direct-to-consumer sales.
“It’s been difficult to keep up with demand because we just didn’t predict that the sauces would take off like this – surprised would be the wrong word, but we’ve been really happy with the numbers of people who support us,” said Hughes.
All of Tubby Tom’s sauces and spice mixes are cooked, blended and filled by hand. “We roast all our own spices, cook all our sauces, and even fill the bottles by hand using a funnel,” said Hughes. “We’re investing in some new machinery in the move to make the whole process more efficient.”
To help keep up with the increase in demand, Hughes is also doubling his staff by taking on four new full-time staff members over the coming year, but despite the growth, he is committed to keeping the handmade touch to the operation.
“We make everything by hand, and we love the way we do things – sauce just tastes better when you make it like that. Mass-produced stuff just never tastes as good.”
The founder said that it is for this reason that he isn’t interested in being stocked in supermarkets. “It makes things a numbers game,” he said. “When you start making deals with the big supermarkets there’s a lot of risk, and I don’t want to play that game, I’d rather just make really good sauces with nice ingredients, employ good people and push it that way.”
As well as the expansion, the brand is set to release three new lines to its already large range – Carolina Mustard BBQ sauce, Taco Seasoning and Burnt Peach & Bourbon Glaze.