Musgrave and Greencore Grocery: Reducing salt and sugar in cooking sauces

Reformulation Success in Own Brand

We know consumers are interested in food composition now more than ever as part of the growing interest in healthy eating. Specifically we know there is a heightened awareness of the amount of salt and sugar in cooking sauces.

In response to this we have worked on Pasta sauces with our supplier Greencore to improve the nutritional composition of the SuperValu and Centra ambient sauces range.

Setting the bar

Using the leading brand in the market as a benchmark, the plan was to gradually reduce added sugar ensuring that taste, texture and overall performance of the sauces were not negatively affected. Salt was reduced to meet the challenging guidelines set out by the Food Standards Agency.

Reducing ingredients without compromising flavour

The benchmark products are made using a different manufacturing process to Greencore and therefore matching product attributes was challenging.

When reducing ingredients, getting the balance right is essential to ensure that flavour is not compromised. To improve the quality, flavour and consistency of the sauce, the tomato and vegetable content were boosted. This involved making changes to production processes, new ingredients had to be sourced, new procedures were created and continual feedback on samples throughout the process had to be sought.

Triangle tests (where three products are tasted, one different and two alike samples), blind panels and benchmarking sessions were carried out throughout the project to ensure taste and flavour expectations were met.

In total, the whole process took eight months to complete and achieved some great results. On average, Greencore reduced salt by 21% and sugar by 33% in the range.

The project was possible because of the positive, collaborative relationship between Musgrave and Greencore, and a mutual understanding of the desired outcome.

The reformulation work has generated greater levels of consumer satisfaction for the cooking sauces and sales have been consistent. Greencore and Musgrave are hopeful that the change will provide a platform for further growth over time.

IGD have highlighted this as a reformulation case study to help and inspire more businesses to improve the nutritional content of their products, by showcasing the best case studies they could collect, See here. This is a strong endorsement of our work on product development.

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