An independent retailer who set out to shake up the condiments category with the unlikely sounding bacon Jam has won a national listing with Tesco - with a little help from The Grocer.
Chris O’Connor, co-owner of Spar Village Stores, Walthamstow, and head chef of the company’s Eat 17 restaurant next door, developed the condiment last year initially for use as a burger relish in the restaurant.
But there was so much customer demand for the relish, which is made with smoked bacon, onion, coffee and whiskey, that Eat 17 started to sell it as a standalone product in the shop last August.
Following a news story in The Grocer the same month, Bacon Jam won listings in Selfridges and a number of indies. The Grocer article also prompted a blitz of national newspaper and TV coverage - and was even eaten by Sarah Jessica Parker on The Jonathan Ross Show.
Having already been sent a sample of the relish, Tesco condiments buyer James MacNay invited Eat 17 to a meeting to discuss a listing.
The product will be rolled out to Tesco nationwide at the end of July. It will be exclusive to Tesco among the multiples for six months and retail at £2.99 compared with £3.50-£3.75 at independents.
“We’re really conscious that independents have built up a really good business for us,” said Eat 17 co-owner James Brundle. “It’s come to the point where we have to make that second jump.”
MacNay added: “We are always looking for innovative products and Bacon Jam fits the bill.”