At the sharp end

Paul Hargreaves, managing director of kitchenware distributor PHA KitchEssentials, gives his view of the foodprep market


ood prep is one of the mainstays of the housewares market. But we’re finding this product category very flat at the

moment, with nothing particularly significant going up or down. I think consumers are just spending their disposable income on other things. Decent restaurants are always busy and when do you ever see an empty Caffè Nero, McDonald’s or Costa Coffee? There seems to be little interest in a new saucepan or grater. For us, Stasher reusable bags (see below) are the biggest opportunity at the moment - and this

product goes beyond our traditional market. The uses for Stasher are endless, and since plastic-free has become such a huge topic this year, sales have really taken off. We’ve had excellent uptake in the media too. Other opportunities are not only for products that

offer something unique but, crucially, where consumers sees that a product will solve a problem for them - or will help them achieve whatever lifestyle aspirations they have. We are very confident about the success of the Packit range of freezable bags for next year in this respect. My advice for retailers on how to support sales? In-store demonstrations are always effective and,

depending on the nature of the product, POS material can be as well. I think it’s becoming more important to display ranges and products in such a way as they say to the consumer: ‘Buy me!’ Too many stores I’ve visited recently have been quite untidy, to be honest, and there is literally no incentive for the customer to purchase. However, the key point is the importance of social media: we are finding the likes of Instagram becoming more and more crucial in the selling process. Those retailers who are prepared to change with the rapidly-changing retail environment will be the ones who survive and prosper.


New to Judge’s Kitchen Essentials collection, these rectangular bamboo cutting boards (TC391, TC392, TC393) come in three sizes. Judge says: ‘Durable and sustainable, bamboo’s natural properties make it the ideal choice for a wooden cutting board. Bamboo is hard enough to resist knife scarring and resistant to water penetration, which means that it’s less likely to crack or split. The boards are almost maintenance free - simply wash and wipe by hand and rub with oil every so often for long-lasting service.’

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Victorinox Allrounder Cutting Boards are described as ‘unique eco-friendly wood fibre boards, that won’t dull your knives and can easily be cleaned in the dishwasher’. Available in three sizes and two colours, they feature a juice groove on one side to keep things tidy, and a flat food prep surface on the other.

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Billed as the eco-friendly way forward for food prep, Stasher reusable plastic-free bags can be used to replace single-use plastic for preparing and storing food. Made of platinum silicone, they are designed for sous vide cooking, freezing and microwaving. The bags are dishwasher-safe (tested up to 3,000 cycles) and feature an airtight seal which locks in nutrients and flavours, making them suitable for marinating and keeping food fresh. Stasher bags can also be written on with whiteboard markers, making preparing packed lunches and meal prepping easier.

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Described as convenient and compact, the Salter 4 in 1 ProBlend 400 W blender features four interchangeable stainless steel blades for chopping, whisking, beating and mincing a variety of foods. It comes with a storage box to keep all the accessories neat and tidy; ‘perfect for everyday cooking and food preparation’.

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Judge says its ‘ultra-modern, lime-green cutting boards (TC397 & TC398) will add a splash of colour and style to your kitchen without compromising on functionality’. Made from a BPA-free, food-grade plastic, these boards offer a knife-friendly cutting surface and are available in two sizes of 19cm x 14cm and 20cm x 25cm. Features include an anti-slip silicone pad, a surrounding groove to minimise spillages and a large circular hanging loop for storage.

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