Waitrose own label

Source: Waitrose/Ottolenghi

The nine-strong range includes a pasta sauce, marinades and a range of spice mixes

Waitrose has partnered with chef Yotam Ottolenghi to launch a new exclusive ingredients range.

The initial nine-strong range of spice mixes, pasta sauces and marinades will roll into Waitrose stores nationwide and online from 29 April, in what marks the British-Israeli restaurateur’s first foray on to supermarket shelves.

Designed to capitalise on a growing trend among consumers to trade down from restaurants to posh home-cooked meals during the cost of living crisis, the new range is intended to provide a “quick and easy” option for shoppers.

A Miso Pesto (£4/165g) is among the new lineup, which also features three new harissa-based variants: Ottolenghi Kalamata Olive & Harissa Sauce (£4.50/350g), Ottolenghi Pomegranate and a Rose & Preserved Lemon Harissa (£5/170g) and Ottolenghi Green Harissa (£5/170g).

Three Ottolenghi spice blends – Aleppo & Other Chillies Blend, Sweet & Smokey Blend and Citrus & Spice Blend, all of which will retail at £3.95 – as well as a Red Chill Sauce (£4.50) and a Shawarma Marinade (£4) complete the lineup.

It’s the first major celebrity tie-up announced by Waitrose since it ended its 12-year partnership with Heston Blumenthal in February 2023. Explaining some of the reasoning behind the new range, Waitrose said it had seen a 203% increase in searches for Middle Eastern recipes on its website.

“We know how much our customers love the food and flavours of Ottolenghi,” said Charlotte Di Cello, commercial director for Waitrose.

“With extraordinary quality and taste being central to both our brands, we are excited to be able to bring Ottolenghi to homes nationwide with this exclusive range.

“While our customers don’t always have the time to create a meal from scratch, these products are designed to enable anyone to bring all that deliciousness to their meals with the simple addition of a sauce, marinade or spice mix,” Di Cello said.

Read more: Ottolenghi is match made in heaven for a post-Heston Waitrose

It’s not the first time that Waitrose has turned to Middle Eastern cuisine for NPD inspiration. The new lines will sit alongside the supermarket’s existing own-label Levantine Table, which launched in April 2021.

“Ottolenghi to the masses… Well, not quite, but I have always been super eager to get our flavours onto people’s dinner plates nationwide, not just in London, without having to cook it from scratch every single time,” Ottolenghi said.

“I am so happy with our new range of sauces, marinades and spices, which does exactly that: Ottolenghi flavours, cooked at home, with no effort at all. I hate to admit it but the pasta sauce already features heavily in my home kitchen, when no one is looking,” he added.

yottam ottolenghi

Source: Ottolenghi

It mark’s Ottolenghi’s first foray into supermarkets

It’s the latest in a string of new NPD launched by Waitrose over the past couple of months, as the supermarket continues to step up its food innovation efforts in a bid to lure more shoppers back to its stores.

In September 2023, it launched Japan Menyu, a Japanese inspired range of ready meals and snacks. That was followed by a new AI inspired seasonal range of quiches, ‘Tex-Mex’ burgers, as well as some Syrian-style olives, in April.

The launched marked a “real step on” from Waitrose, said Olly Pinder, founder of consultancy The Meals Collective.

“Partnering with someone like Ottolenghi will pull in their core foodie target customer and sets their range apart from others. What better way to add flavour to mealtimes, with this excellently created, on-trend range – and first to market flavour combinations?

“As the cost of living crisis continues, these products will allow at-home cooks to bring Ottolenghi into their home – whether they’re London-based or not,” he added.