Wonderchup launched its tomato ketchup in January 2018 after a successful stand at a local Christmas fair saw co-founders Elise and Karl Daly sell 70 bottles in two hours.
The clean label product contains 65% tomatoes – compared to Heinz’s 23% – alongside ingredients such as peppers, apple cider vinegar, fennel and rosemary, and added vitamins B6, B9, B12, D3 and E.
With no added sugar, sweetener or fructose, nor salt, Wonderchup is one of the early adopters of the healthy ketchup concept. Other healthy alternatives to the traditional supermarket ketchup include Kidchup in the UK and True Made Foods in the US.
According to Elise Daly, the start-up spent a long time looking for the right suppliers, and carried out as much due diligence as possible. Selecting a manufacturer – The Condiment Company in Chichester, which is one of the few to use glass bottles – was also a well-thought-out decision.
“As a small, anonymous company the trickiest thing to settle on is the bottom line and quality, which go hand in hand,” she told FoodNavigator.
“We work in conjunction with The Condiment Company, to share their buying power in order to source the most affordable and delicious organic tomatoes and peppers and our other ingredients. We buy our rapeseed oil from Hill Farm, and Aspall provide our Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
“We also have rapeseed oil because it’s indigenous, and so again, [we focus on] the food mile conversation,” she continued.
Ripe for the ketchup market
With obesity and diabetes on the rise, Wonderchup is targeting families, and children in particular, as a healthy alternative to classic ketchup.
While Daly lists its main competitors as Heinz, Stokes, Sir Kensington’s and Dr Will’s, “we’re going for every ketchup eater really,” she explained.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from people with health problems, not just people who want to be healthy and avoid sugar for lifestyle and wellness, but people that really need to avoid it and just can’t find the products that do it.”
Out with sugar and salt, in with umami
In the absence of added sugar and salt, Wonderchup has imparted umami and kokumi flavour profiles into its ketchup.
Regarded as the fifth and sixth taste candidates respectively, after salt, sweet, sour and bitter, umami and kokumi are present in lycopene – an antioxidant found in tomato concentrate.
“Umami and kokumi in food give people that extra depth and flavour that they might have had from sugar and salt, so it is deliberately there – as a healthy alternative to [those ingredients]. It also hits those notes on the tongue…and gives that happiness buzz,” explained Daly.
In addition, these elements make the product attractive to tastes beyond the western diet, she continued. “I’ve got to think of this as a global product…so it needed to hit all the flavour profiles.”
Wonderchup Tomato Ketchup has a RRP of £3.95 (€4.50) and sells in a number of independent shops, as well as in Jempsons Supermarket, directly via its website, and on Amazon. The products is also available in four gastro pubs and two schools, with plans to expand into more schools and hospitals.
“We support sporting events and are now a regular fixture at Cranbrook Rugby Club, so the boys and girls and men and women can have the healthiest post match food. We give to food banks, to children and youth groups to ensure as many people as possible are getting the chance to enjoy it,” said Daly.
The start-up is looking to expand its range over the next 18 months, with two chutneys expected to launch before the end of 2019. ‘Wonder Chuppa Chutta Mama’ and ‘Wonder Chuppa Chutta Papa’ will champion ingredients to support gut, brain and body health.