Posted: 14/05/2019

UK wasabi farm enters market with first branded range

The UK’s only commercial grower of fresh wasabi has developed its first branded range of condiments and sauces for the independent retail market. 

The Wasabi Company launched its nine-strong range earlier this year which it showcased at the Farm Shop & Deli Show last month. The products include a Yuzu mayonnaise (RRP £3.85, 175g) and Yuzu mustard (RRP £3.85, 175g), as well as English wasabi mayonnaise (RRP £4.50, 175g), and English wasabi mustard (RRP £4.50, 175g) which uses the grower’s own fresh product.

Speaking to FFD about the new launch, product manager Nick Russell said the company, which already imported a range of ambient Japanese ingredients for retail, decided to create its own lines and include two wasabi-based products to showcase the complex flavours of the Japanese horseradish.

“Our wasabi mayonnaise is different from what’s currently in the market because we use fresh wasabi,” said Russell. “It has a horseradish head followed by a nuttiness and earthiness.”

He added: “Other wasabi-based condiments are heavily flavoured with horseradish or mustard with less than 3% of wasabi actually used.”

Currently, the range is only available to retailers directly from The Wasabi Company but Russell said the business was in discussions with a number of wholesalers and hopes to secure national and international distribution. 

The business, which has a sister company producing watercress, started growing wasabi on its farms in both Dorset and Hampshire in 2010 and has been predominantly supplying restaurants, which account for around 80% of its sales.

“I am hoping we can supply the foodservice sector with these lines too,” said Russell. “I’m already looking into bigger volumes with 500ml and 1kg jars.” 

The commercial farm grows 4 to 5 varieties of wasabi each year using the Japanese Sawa method, a flowing water system which is sourced from springs in the area and provide the plants with natural minerals. 

“We are the only wasabi growers in the UK using this flowing water system,” he said. “It produces a cleaner crop of wasabi rather than growing it in stagnant water.”

This story appeared in the May issue of Fine Food Digest. You can read more on the digital edition here.

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