Kraft Heinz Foodservice and Chiquito shake up the hot sauce foodservice industry with Kumana
Whether it’s a tabasco variety, jalapeno based, sweet, extra spicy or otherwise, the demand for hot sauce continues to heat up, with a surge in demand for high-quality sauces and condiments increasing by 110% over the past six months
Following the successful launch of Kumana in retail, available in Ocado since 2021, and recently listed in Waitrose, Kraft Heinz Foodservice joined forces with The Restaurant Group’s casual dining chain Chiquito to bring the UK’s first avocado hot sauce to out-of-home customers.
What have they been cooking up?
Perfectly balancing avocado and jalapeno, with mango and habanero chilli, Kumana – pronounced ‘ku-mah-na’ - delivers sweetness and additional punches of heat.
The Venezuelan-inspired avocado hot sauce, its thick consistency and creamy texture not usually associated in its category, has versatile culinary prowess. 100% vegan, gluten free and HFSS approved, Kumana is perfect for all-day occasions, as can attest Chiquito.
Kumana has launched exclusively at Chiquito’s 22 nationwide restaurants, with its journey to tabletops as exciting as the sauce itself.
While on a Miami food tour in early 2022, Lawrence Ager, Culinary Sales Manager at The Kraft Heinz Company, and Chiquito Executive Food & Drink Development Chef Simon Xavier, were devouring a hot sauce-drenched Cuban sandwich when Lawrence sparked an idea.
He recalls: “Kraft Heinz US had previously met two Venezuelan brothers who started producing their own Guasacaca – a traditional sauce made from avocado and jalapenos, along with other variations - after failing to find anything in LA that resembled the flavours they missed from home. They named the brand Kumana in homage to the city they grew up in.”
Kraft Heinz partnered with Kumana and started producing the sauce in the UK for the freshest taste possible and believed with some tweaks the sauce would be a hit. It was the Cuban sandwich lunch that got the wheels in motion.
Following the reformulation of the sauce it was road-tested at this year’s Street Food Championships. Simon says: “The competition was a litmus test of sorts ahead of the table-top launch and as the only branded sauce to reach the final and impress as much as it did is testament to its quality and unique flavour profile.”
More than just a hot sauce
Lawrence explains Kumana’s versatility sets it apart: “Kumana is not what you would expect a hot sauce to be – its avocado base can be spicy or cooling, and used in cooked dishes, cold straight from the jar, or as a marinade or dressing. Unlike a lot of other hot sauces that are sugar or vinegar based and tend to be used on the side of the plate, Kumana offers multiple applications for chefs and operators.”
Simon adds: “The PH balance of Kumana means it can be a salt and lime substitute for ceviche or poured on to salmon or monkfish and roasted for a beautiful glaze, colour and taste. It’s also great for tinga tacos - an incredible Mexican dish from Puebla made from shredded chicken cooked in a smoky and slightly spicy tomato-based sauce.”
The power of two
Bringing Kumana to the table with a partnership approach is a step in the right direction to engage both customers and chefs.
Lawrence continues: “By working collaboratively, Kraft Heinz Foodservice has positioned the product within the South American OOH food sector, with the support of Chiquito, already well established there and doing an exceptional job in delivering what guests want to eat – it’s going to create a tidal wave within the market.”
Simon added: “We’re showing diners what authentic Latin and Mexican food is all about, with traditional options such as el pastor, tinga and pilbil on the Chiquito menu. New recipes featuring Kumana sauce are in the process of being developed for 2023. Whenever our new menus launch, we are always doing something that no other restaurant is.”
Bold, daring, game changing. Kumana is certainly serving something extraordinary.
For more information on Kumana and for the chance to receive a sample, please contact Chloé Schiltz, Brand Manager at Kraft Heinz Foodservice at Chloe.Schiltz@kraftheinz.com