Chinese brand Lee Kum Kee is making its first major foray into mainstream UK grocery in its 120-year history with a retail range designed to appeal to Western tastes.

A premium oyster sauce and a Double Deluxe soy sauce will mark the company’s move from specialist Chinese grocery stores to the multiples. They have listings in 180 Waitrose stores from this week.

The oyster sauce is a similar product to the one the company already sells, while the soy sauce is a unique product created to spark interest in the brand and push its point of difference. A range of sauces and ingredients made specifically for mainstream grocery is due to follow in the next couple of months.

Lee Kum Kee has more than 100 products, but its presence in the UK has so far been confined to foodservice and specialist ethnic stores. Continued growth in Chinese cuisine and growing demand for authentic products meant the time was right to make the switch into mainstream retail, the company said.

“It is very difficult to take the brand from Chinese grocery stores into the mainstream but the timing is right,” said Jason Beaumont, senior business development manager.

“We have to take the brand to UK consumers in a clear and understandable format, so the new range is geared around a natural positioning and has been developed for the UK flavour profile.”