Sandwich & Food to Go Magazine - 209 - February 2024

Page 36


A STARRING ROLL Sushi and Asian cuisine are all set for further success in food to go, with Tanpopo a key player in the market.

COMMON GROUND A mere six months ago, Tesco broke the news that sushi was officially the UK’s fastest-growing premium lunchtime main – even replacing the smoked salmon sandwich as numero uno. Having launched its £5 Clubcard Meal Deal at the start of the year, sushi sales increased by a staggering 90%. The supermarket giant now sells over 20 million packs a year. Rest assured, the impact on food to go cannot be underestimated. In the US, the sushi restaurant market is forecast to expand to the tune of around $3.2 billion (£2.5bn) [Technavio] in the next five years – a CAGR of 3.13%. Kura Sushi USA has a billion-dollar market value, with its robot servers and toy prizes a fascinating snapshot of what the future may hold. All eyes will be on innovation for a dish that not only offers convenience and an abundance of flavour varieties, but also has a reputation as a healthier FTG choice. Japan has one of the highest global life expectancies and

fish is a common filling and nutritious source of protein. Our blossoming relationship is unsurprising when you consider the cultural synergies between the UK and Japan. We are both islands, with large tea drinking and gardening cultures, while we also enjoy many of the same food and drink options during the week and weekends.

were perhaps unsuited to the UK grab-and-go market. “Over time, customers have become more open to exploring the Japanese and Asian flavour profile, so we have catered to this with innovative lines. Capitalising on snacking opportunities and heat-toeat has helped diversify the range outside of its traditional role as a sandwich alternative at lunch, into

WHOLE NEW WORLD A business at the heart of this success story is Tanpopo – with nearly three decades as wholesale sushi suppliers. Established in 1996 by a young couple that met in Japan, they returned to England with a desire to introduce us to an exciting product. “When I started here as a sales executive 13 years ago, I encountered people who had an aversion to stocking raw fish lines,” said Andrew Woods, Tanpopo managing director. “Sushi was treated as a rather obscure foreign delicacy. As a company, we were also focused on making traditional sushi lines in formats that

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