Korean food goes mainstream with Tesco

Yogiyo, maker of the first Korean stir fry sauces in the UK, is significantly expanding its range to include nine brand new products including meal kits, noodle pots, hot sauces and a Korean BBQ sauce – taking its SKUs to a total of 12.

The firm is aiming to capitalise on the continued growth in the World Foods category and the fact that 16% of consumers have eaten Korean food at home in the past three months. Yogiyo estimates that there’s already a £51m opportunity for Korean food in the UK – based on those 16% of consumers spending just £6.00 on it in retail per year. Yogiyo’s initial stir fry sauce listings in Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Ocado and Booths have now been followed by Tesco’s decision to stock all 12 SKUs nationally – effectively taking Korean food mass market.

The meal kits provide two servings and come complete with soft noodles, a sauce pouch and garnish, while the noodle pots are all low-fat and under 300 kcals. They’re also the first in the UK to be packaged in a compostable pot. Both hot sauces use a key ingredient in Korean cooking – ‘gochujang’, a fermented chilli paste. One is combined with yuzu and the other with wasabi to create hot sauces that have distinctively ‘punchy’ Korean flavours. The BBQ sauce, as with all Yogiyo’s products, is an authentically Korean recipe and can be used for dipping, marinating, glazing or coating/cooking. 

Set up by married couple Sue Youn from Korea and Ben Ansah from Birmingham, Yogiyo is inspired by the traditional cooking of Sue’s mother in her family restaurant. The pair first started trading with a food truck in London’s Leather Lane market, with success and a growing interest in Korean food prompting Selfridges to stock their sauces. This led to an appearance on Dragon’s Den and backing from Peter Jones, with Sainsbury’s and Tesco subsequently listing their stir fry sauces.

Soo Youn co-founder, said: “As we know from our own experience, Korean food started to take off here thanks to the explosion in street food. Since then, it’s been steadily increasing in popularity – whether its specialist restaurants opening, celebrity chefs embracing it, or big chain restaurants adding Korean-inspired dishes to their menus. But, with an extra nine products across key retail categories, we’re now well set and ready to lead Korean cuisine’s charge into the mainstream.”

As part of the brand’s expansion and revamp, Yogiyo has also appointed Euro Food Brands as its UK distributor. EFB works with some of the world’s best food and drink brands, including Illy, V8, Hershey’s and Barilla. 

RRPs: Noodle Meal Kits, £2.99. Sauces, £1.80-£1.85. Noodle Pots, £1.50. Stir-fry sachets, £0.70. Contact: ben@yogiyo.co