Kraft Heinz partners with Momofuku to take chili sauce nationwide
Momofuku has partnered with Springboard, a new platform from Kraft Heinz focused on accelerating the growth of disruptive brands within the food and beverage space, to bring Ssäm Sauce to retail nationwide, according to the restaurant group founded by chef David Chang.
The popular Korean chili sauce will be sold nationwide on Amazon.com starting this week. Ssäm Sauce comes in three flavors — Original, Smoky and Spicy.
The sauce is Springboard's first partnership and its initial entry into the specialty culinary sector, according to Momofuku. “Korean sauces and flavors have become more and more infused in American cooking, and we are so excited to take a long-time staple in Momofuku’s pantry and introduce this as a staple in home kitchens across the country,” said Sergio Eleuterio, general manager of Springboard Brands.
Kraft Heinz may be able to significantly ratchet up the cool factor with this move since Momofuku, which has a two Michelin star restaurant in New York City, is synonymous with hip food for many consumers. It also allows the company to capitalize on popular new trends and flavors such as Korean and harness taste while still eating healthier.
If Kraft Heinz can harness these disruptive qualities in Ssäm Sauce and potentially other Springboard incubator projects, it will help keep the company on the cutting edge of innovation and differentiation. Bernardo Vieira Hees, Kraft Heinz's CEO, said during a recent earnings call that the company is in a renovation phase.
"We were more than double our percentage of innovation (in the) last three years and we continue to accelerate in a big way," he said. The company underscored that sentiment with its recent debut of gochujang spiced nuts, maple bacon roasted pecan clusters and energy balls.
The news of this partnership comes just after Credit Suisse downgraded the company to "underperform," pointing to the company's lack of product innovation as a warning sign despite its many efforts to revamp existing products to meet consumer demand for clean label.
It's uncertain if this new product launch will be enough to impact Kraft Heinz's reputation in the CPG space, or if this innovation is a one-time deal rather than the start of a string of new projects. Still, the partnership with Momofuku looks like a step in the right direction, especially given growing consumer interest in authentic Asian cuisine.