Buyers have reacted cautiously to the multimillion pound launch of a new Sharwood’s oven sauce.

Manufacturer Centura Foods is throwing £6m behind Sharwood’s Bundh, named after a traditional Indian cooking process, in a bid to change the way consumers cook curry.

However, one influential buyer warned that consumers may not have the patience to put up with the newcomer’s one hour oven time.

Allen Clark, senior buyer for Budgens, said: “Nowadays, a product that involves that much time is going to put off time-poor consumers.

“Anything that takes longer than 20 minutes is seen as something for a special occasion only.”

A buyer for another major multiple, which plans to list two of the range, praised the newcomer’s quality and had no issue with the cooking time. But he raised concerns about the £2.19 price point (420g), because Sharwood’s standard range currently sells at £1.39. “I’m not sure the quality merits that big a premium,” he said. He also questioned the name Bundh, which features more strongly on packaging than the Sharwood’s tag. “Although advertising may explain what it means, not everyone will see it,” he said.

On shelf next month, the Passanda, Kashmiri, Tandoori and Achari recipes each contain a secret blend of spices designed to flavour the meat through cooking.

National TV advertising - showing consumers how to use the products - is scheduled for the autumn. Support will also come in the form of retailer-specific promotions, point of sale material and online activity aimed at increasing consumers’ level of interaction with the brand.
Mary Carmichael