Kitchen Life Group 2

Life Kitchen is a range of pastes, seasonings and sauces. Source: Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett has launched a new specialist ingredients range tailored to customers who have seen their taste or smell affected by illness or treatment.

The “first of its kind” range of pastes, seasonings and sauces – called Life Kitchen – has been created in collaboration with a not-for-profit cookery school of the same name, which was co-founded by the chef and author Ryan Riley.  

All six products in the initial launch have been designed as “quick” and “easy” additions to recipes, using research from scientists at the Centre for Study of the Senses, H&B said. They have been designed to enhance five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami.

The Life Kitchen lineup includes Sensation Salt – a blend of white pepper, sour citric acid and umami that is billed as a replacement to traditional table salt (£3), and a Seed, Kale & Wasabi Blend, which costs £4 and is billed as a salad dressing or garnish for soups.

In addition is a Soy & Honey Umami Paste (£3.50) made from soy sauce honey and dried mushrooms “that makes all other ingredients in a dish more intense”. A Miso Honey (£3.50) is made from umami miso, while a Citrus Sensation Spritz (£3.50) blends “vinegar, glucose syrup, yuzu juice, rice koji and natural ginger flavourings”.

The lineup is finished with a snack: White Chocolate & Miso Raspberries, which will retail for £4.

“Food is at the heart of H&B, and we’ve long been passionate about creating delicious products that also help to support our customers’ wellness,” said Holland & Barrett global product director April Preston.

“We’ve brought many innovative ‘food firsts’ to the high street over the past 150 years, and our new Holland & Barrett with Life Kitchen range is our latest example of delicious products that love you back. We’re incredibly proud to launch this brand new range to help people find their pleasure and joy in food again.”

Riley co-founded Life Kitchen alongside Kim Duke, after both experienced first-hand how chemotherapy affected their parents’ experience at mealtimes.

Awareness about how illness or medical treatment can affect taste and smell has also increased following the Covid-19 pandemic, with 40%-50% of people who caught the virus experiencing some form of effect to their senses, according to the British Medical Journal.

“Our experience at Life Kitchen – which saw us create the world’s first cancer cookery school – means we know the profound impact that taste and smell has on our physical and mental health,” Riley said.

“Our aim is to help as many people as possible enjoy food again, whether or not your taste buds have been affected, so we’re thrilled to work with H&B to bring this innovative product range to the high street.

“Sadly, we’ve seen first-hand how chemotherapy affected our parents’ ability to experience food and we’ve been on a mission ever since to change this. We’re so excited to see the positive impact our taste-boosting range will have to anyone looking to add more delicious flavour to mealtimes.”

The products – which began rolling into stores before the new year – is the latest and most significant wave of new NPD to hit stores, since the relaunch of H&B’s food category in September 2023.

More than 300 new own label lines were rolled out across H&B’s 800-store footprint in the UK. It saw chillers return to stores for the first time since they were removed during the pandemic.