Waitrose ingredients NPD

Source: Waitrose / Ottolenghi

The full range is available in 255 of Waitrose 329 stores

Early sales of Waitrose’s Ottolenghi range have soared, on the back of what the supermarket has said is “phenomenal” demand for the new ingredients line.

The nine-strong range of cooking pastes, spice mixes and a marinade launched exclusively into 275 Waitrose stores to much fanfare in April.

The partnership with restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi was the retailer’s first major tie-up with a celebrity chef since it ended its 12-year association with Heston Blumenthal in 2023, so had been expected to prove popular internally.

However, The Grocer understands demand has been “unprecedented”, causing the retailer to run out of stock on some of the lines.

Last week, five of the nine lines were unavailable via Waitrose.com. One SKU, the Pomegranate, Rose & Lemon Harissa Paste, remains unavailable online.

Performance of the range had “exceeded expectations”, with sales 97% higher across the range than the business had forecast, Waitrose confirmed. The Pomegranate Harissa Paste had been the top seller in the first two weeks.

“We’re all delighted that our customers have been loving our new range from Ottolenghi as much as we all do,” said Waitrose branded innovation manager Oliver Chadwyck-Healey.

“The products allow anyone to bring his world-renowned flavours to their own meals with the simple addition of a sauce, marinade or spice mix made with quality ingredients.

“For those yet to get their hands on the products, don’t worry, we’re working hard to get more onto our shelves in the coming days so that all our Waitrose food lovers can try the amazing range for themselves.”

Despite the initial challenge of meeting demand, internally buyers are thought to be delighted with the initial sales and are considering ways to extend the range in the future.

The full range of products is currently stocked in 255 of Waitrose’s 329 stores. The products have a 20% launch discount until 18 June.

Seen as a flagship launch, the range is the most significant NPD from Waitrose since the launch of its Japan Menyu dining range in September.

It forms one part of a swathe of new lines to hit stores over recent months as the once again profitable supermarket looks to widen its customer offer.

This includes the launch of new bakery products over the last month following a recent category reset. Waitrose also released a new “AI-inspired” summer range on 15 April.

The supermarket also appears to be gearing up to release a new pizza range, after filing a trademark and logo with the government’s Intellectual Property Office earlier this month.