Waitrose has claimed a U.K. first with its launch of organic halloumi under its Duchy Organic brand. The launch coincides with the private brand’s 25-year anniversary.
Sales of halloumi are up 24% year-over-year at Waitrose, and the grocery retailer decided to capitalize on the trend. “Halloumi continues to have its moment in the limelight,” said Chris Dawson, cheese buyer at Waitrose. “Fans of this ever-popular cheese can now choose organic with our Waitrose Duchy Organic halloumi. Like our other halloumis, it is made the traditional way in Cyprus but using organic milk from cows, goats and sheep.”
The Waitrose Duchy Organic range already includes organic feta and cottage cheese alongside British classics, such as Stilton, cheddar, Red Leicester and Double Gloucester. Waitrose Duchy Organic Halloumi costs £3.25, and is available in Waitrose branches nationwide and online at waitrose.com.
Waitrose claimed another first with the launch of its first gin created by a customer, reminiscent of the initiative seen at U.S. grocery retailers such as H-E-B.
Guests at the Waitrose Drinks Festival were invited to join a gin masterclass with distillers Audemus Spirits and take part in the competition. Experimenting with various botanicals, attendees created their own versions of the spirit. The 30 gins created were then judged by a panel of experts, including Waitrose category manager, Anne Jones, and Waitrose Cellar buyer, Xenia Irwin MW. The Espirit d’Été Gin, made by Laura Parton and Joe Blenkinsop from South Woodford, London, was chosen as the overall winner.
“We were really happy with the results from our first ever gin competition and are very proud to be selling the winning blend, which is a truly delicious gin,” said Irwin MW. “Between the competition in September 2016 and now, a lot of hard work has gone into bringing this gin to market. Espirit d’Été uses botanicals including juniper, galangal, orange and bergamot, making a simple and well-balanced gin. It’s an exciting time for artisanal spirits with consumer interest at an all-time high and it’s been a fun project to be a part of.”
Waitrose recently revealed that gin has overtaken whisky as its top-selling spirit, and sales of local and regional gin have grown by 50% year-over-year. The Espirit d’Été Gin costs £39 and is available from Waitrose Cellar while supplies last.