Jarred foods is a crowded category, but Andre Dang believes space can still be found on shelves for the right free-from condiments. That’s why he and his partner, Jon Honeyball, are launching a new range of sweet and savoury sauces in March.
Janda – an amalgamation of the founders’ names – will focus on condiments made without common allergens like dairy and egg, situating it nicely in the plant-based arena.
“We thought there was potentially a gap in the market for products that would appeal to those with more specialised diets,” explains Dang, a former buyer for Harrods and Selfridges.
He and Honeyball already have experience developing their own brand. Six years ago, they founded Manfood, initially with a very specific focus on crispy, chunky pickles. It’s since expanded to include chutneys, beer jellies, cocktail jams and Asian fusion sauces like Japanese-inspired wasabi mayonnaise and Philippine-inspired adobo wing sauce.
While Manfood is stocked in fine food retailers, farm shops, independent delis and department stores like Harvey Nichols, Dang is aiming Janda squarely at the major supermarket chains.
So what’s been cooked up so far?
Facon it till you make it
Working with a development chef, Dang and Honeyball started with four barbecue products aimed at dirty vegans and “people who want to have a plant-based diet but don’t want to give up their fast-food fix.”
The first item created was the egg-free mayonnaise, originally using aquafaba, though this was eventually dropped because supply of the chickpea water proved to be an issue. Instead, a mixture of potato starch, seaweed and rapeseed oil made its way into the final version.
From there, the Janda range grew to include ‘facon’ relish (riffing off the popularity of bacon jam) and a spicy buffalo sauce – both made with coconut – as well as a burger sauce.
“The key is trying to do a substitute to whatever the allergen is while still maintain the shelf life, flavour and texture,” says Dang, who adds that shelf life proved the most difficult challenge to overcome.
Adding a bit of sweetness to the savoury, Janda also boats a salt caramel spread, lemon curd, chocolate ganache and a no-added-sugar strawberry jam – all vegan-friendly.
Each 190g jar will have an RRP of £3.95, with catering sizes also being considered.
Dang says he is in talks to stock Janda products in Morrisons, which already lists Manfood as a local supplier.
“I don’t see us as a preachy brand,” adds Dang. “We’re not saying we don’t have additives, we don’t have colourings and so on, because we do. But where we use colouring, for instance, it’s natural colouring. The lemon curd, we’ve enhanced the colour with carrot extract, which gives it a much more vibrant golden colour.”