Every cook wants to know if their food is liked, so winning an award is a great way to get that confidence, says Dr Trouble’s managing director Rob Fletcher after the company’s sauce made it to the UK’s Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste 2021 list.
Great Taste fashions itself as the world’s largest and most trusted food and drink awards and is recognised as a reliable stamp of excellence among consumers, retailers and major food buyers alike.
Since 1994, more than 150,000 products have been put through this robust judging process. Each one is fastidiously blind-tasted by selected chefs, cooks, buyers, retailers, restaurateurs, food critics and writers.
This week, two of Dr Trouble’s products, Dr Trouble African Lemon Chilli Sauce and Dr Trouble Double Oak Smoked Sauce were revealed among products that made it to the UK’s Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste 2021 list.
Dr Trouble’s gourmet chilli sauce is the first Zimbabwean product to be awarded a Star by the Guild of Fine Foods in its 2021 Great Taste list.
Getting a Star means the food would have been found to be simply delicious delivering fantastic flavour. Approximately 25 percent of entries will achieve this rating each year.
Dr Trouble’s sauce is among the 25 percent entries that made it to the list which gives a highest ranking of 3 Stars when the food is exquisite. Around 2 percent of products are awarded 3-stars each year.
But what does the award mean for a company from Northern Zimbabwe, near the Zambezi Valley.
“Every cook wants to know if their food is liked, so winning an award is a great way to get that confidence in our flavour, Fletcher told Business Weekly.
The condiment category is the most competitive shelf in the supermarket as there are literally thousands of competing products, according to Fletcher.
“Winning a Great Taste Award brings attention to Zimbabwe as being capable of competing in the world stage with a finished product.”
Fletcher believes Dr Trouble’s sauce had made it to the list because of its uniqueness including the process of making it.
“We use the finest ingredients and use no artificial preservatives or chemicals. We are the only sauce on the market using only pure fresh squeezed lemon juice. It takes a hundred days to make a bottle. No one else does this,” said Fletcher.
On its website, Dr Trouble says its makes its chilli sauce by hot smoking it over rare English Oak chips, and allowed to cool, and then smoked for a second time.
“The chilli, lemon juice and spices are poured into custom blown glass sun flagons. These 30 litre flagons, are placed in the hot African sun for up to 60 days. Each flagon gently stirred twice a day, encouraging the flavours to meld into a smooth and aromatic flavour, versatile for all food types. Batch made with Pride,” reads part of a permanent write up on Dr Trouble’s website.
Trade secrets are closely guarded by most enterprises in their quest to gain a competitive edge ahead of rivals.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) trade secrets are a key component of intellectual property portfolios helping businesses protect their secret formulas, know-how and other key information that gives them a competitive edge.
Typically, companies invest a large amount of money in their businesses to perfect certain methods such as the manufacturing and distributing process, purchasing habits, sales methods, advertising techniques and more.
Losing trade secrets could cause a company to lose market share and dominance and allow competitors to capture some of its business.
Demand for the product has been growing in the export market and now constitute 55 percent of the company’s sales.
According to Fletcher, volumes grew by 800 percent last year.
“We started with a container a year and this year will ship three.”
According to Fletcher, there will be a cap on the number of bottles made.
“Our target on our flagship flavours Oak Smoked and Lemon Chilli is 300000 bottles a year- we will not make more than that.
“Our process would have to change with mass production and we’re not trying to be the next Nando’s. Rather like single malt whisky – not everyone can try it.”
But for Dr Trouble, a company that originated from Northern Zimbabwe, near the Zambezi Valley, laying bare its trade secrets on its website has not stopped its products from getting international recognition.