Product: Kitchen Guru
People behind it:
Name: Chandra and Rekha Parmar
Kitchen Guru was launched by husband and wife Chandra and Rekha Parmar. Rekha used to make up spice kits for friends and Chandra, with a background in product design, came up with a cardbacked blister pack concept, where each ingredient has its own recipe on the back of the card. They converted their garage to make the product and launched the company in 2002. The company has since moved to bigger production facilities and it has listings in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, as well as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Harrods.
The core insight behind Kitchen Guru was the understanding that many people want to cook ethnic meals, but are frequently put off by the time, effort and money it takes to collect the necessary range of ingredients to make the real thing. Hence the popularity of pre-prepared curry powders, pastes and sauces. Kitchen Guru gives them all the ingredients they need for a meal for four, pre-measured, plus clear instructions, in one package.
Kitchen Guru’s products have won a range of industry awards for innovation since its launch in 2002, and the listings it has gained both in high-end stores, such as Harvey Nichols, and in more mainstream supermarkets, such as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, is evidence of solid business sense coupled with innovative new product development. It also sells abroad, and has won best small exporter at the UK Trade and Investment Awards two years running.
How it fits
Kitchen Guru ticks a lot of boxes: ethnic meal kits have become extremely popular; the packaging works both functionally and aesthetically; while commanding a premium price, it is still cheaper than buying a whole range of jars of spices that may only get used once. The Parmars now have plans to extend the range into other ethnic cuisines, including Thai, Indonesian and North African.