Wagamama launch ‘cook at home’ range in supermarkets – ‘I’ve been waiting for this’

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Wagamama is a popular restaurant chain, serving Asian food based on Japanese cuisine, with many branches around the UK. With the restaurants having been closed for several months in the last year due to the pandemic, the company has launched meal kits, pastes and sauces as part of its growth strategy.

Customers will be able to pick up the meal kits in Waitrose from today before the range is expanded into Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Ocado in the coming weeks.

It comes after Wagamamas Wok from Home cooking series saw a positive response during the national lockdowns.

The company has said that all the profits from the range will be donated to mental health charity partner YoungMinds.

The launch of the range, which will include Wagamama’s popular Katsu paste, is one of the first moves by new boss Thomas Heier.

He told PA news agency: “We learned a lot from Wok from Home and that connectivity with people was something we could really look at when thinking about the range.

“We don’t think it will cannibalise our restaurant sales because we had some concerns about that when we started click and collect options and we saw it attracted new customers well.”

Mr Heier added that initial trading at Wagamama restaurants since reopening again following the third lockdown had been positive.

He said: “We’ve been able to trade with delivery and click and collect through a lot of sites during the lockdown but obviously still a fantastic lift to welcome all those customers and staff back.

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“It’s been very busy, in a really good way, because there is a lot of love for the brand. Seasonally, we often do better in the cooler months, we think of that as ramen weather, but we’ve been really pleased by trading since May 17.”

Wagamama fans will be able to purchase a pad Thai kit, chicken ramen kit as well as a katsu curry meal kit.

The chicken ramen meal kit retails at Waitrose for £3.30 and consists of ramen noodles, chicken stock, sesame seeds and wakame seaweed.

The katsu curry meal kit contains soy sauce and spices, panko breadcrumbs and salad dressing with shallots.

Sauces include teriyaki, pad Thai and wagamamas well-known firecracker sauce. 

The sauces are priced at £1.15 at Waitrose and they serve two people.

Fans took to social media to share their thoughts on the new launch.

One person said: “I can’t wait for this to be rolled out into more supermarkets, will be going in my trolley every week!”

Another wrote: “Finally, I’ve been waiting for this #wagamama.”

Emma Thomas, chief executive of YoungMinds, said: “Our partnership with Wagamama has already been instrumental in helping us to reach more young people with advice, support and messages of home and we are thrilled that Wagamama’s profits from this exciting new range will be donated to YoungMinds.

“This funding will be a huge help towards accelerating our work to make sure all young people get the support they need, when they need it, no matter what.”

Many restaurants have turned to selling their products in supermarkets in the last year including Leon and Pret A Manger.

Pret A Manger began selling its food items in Tesco after the company announced city city cafes were hit by dwindling numbers of office workers.

Customers can pick up frozen croissants, chocolate filled and topped croissants as well as vegan options. 

Clare Clough, UK Managing Director of Pret A Manger, said: “With millions sold yearly, we know how much our customers love our croissants which is why I’m thrilled that we have been able to launch our new frozen range.

“Featuring three of our bestselling flavours, our teams have worked hard to ensure customers can get the same freshly baked taste they get in our shops, at home.”

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