Henderson Wholesale develops new range with Ulster University

Henderson Wholesale, part of the Henderson Group, has launched a convenient meal range with the help of Ulster University Business School.

‘The Kitchen’ is a rebranded evolution of the ‘Meals Made Delicious’ concept tested by the company in 2015, enabling retailers to offer ready-made, foil tray solutions to get ‘tonight’s tea’ sorted quickly.

The company worked with the Ulster University Business School’s Food and Consumer Testing Suite (FACTS) to help test, develop and refine the new products.

The Kitchen Chicken in Pepper Sauce

The Kitchen Chicken in Pepper Sauce

Various mains and sides were tested including the potato and cheese bake and the green vegetable medley, which all the panellists said they would buy. The chicken and broccoli bake was a clear winner, chosen by 89% of panellists.

The 39 products range from main meals also include Roast Beef in Peppercorn Sauce and Cottage Pie. Sides including Sweet Potato Chilli Fries, Potato and Cheese Bake and a Green Vegetable Medley, and desserts range from Sticky Toffee Pudding to Apple and Blackberry Crumble, and Profiteroles.

Neal Kelly, fresh foods director at Henderson Wholesale said: “The Kitchen is our new, premium meal range that has been produced with convenience and tonight’s tea at the fore. We have worked with our local suppliers to produce great food made locally, so our retailers can offer their customers the very best options for their shoppers.

“This research has become invaluable to shaping the fresh products we produce for the company. These are blind taste tests with participants only being told where the products come from once they have finished the tasting. It gives us great insight into what consumers think about a product, uncovering their preferences and ultimately helping us make a better product with our suppliers.”

The Kitchen Sweet Potato Fries

The Kitchen Sweet Potato Fries

The line also includes new meal for one options including Beef & Black Bean Sauce with Rice, Beef Stroganoff & Rice and Chicken Madras & Rice at £2.99 each.

Each main meal is £3.49 each, any two sides for £3.50 or a main plus two sides for £6.99.

The Fresh Team also collaborated with local food producer, Big Pot Co. in Cookstown to provide ‘family pots’ of favourites from Beef Bolognese to Vegetable Soup, priced at £5 each for 1kg.

Key party food lines will also be available over the festive period, two vol-au-vent options at £2.79 each, and two types of canapés at £3.49 each.

Other local suppliers involved in the range are Daily Bake in Armagh, Willowbrook Foods in Killinchy and Quinfresh in Dungannon.

The Kitchen is available now in SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXTRA and ViVO Essentials outlets across Northern Ireland.

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