This month, UK grocer Waitrose is relaunching its most successful private brand – Essential Waitrose. The range, first launched in 2009, was introduced to offer customers high quality and great value everyday items.

More than 200 new and improved products from key categories such as skincare, yogurts, and frozen ingredients will be added to the Essential Waitrose range, all of which will have a fresh and modern packaging design.

The redesign has a modern feel which reflects the quality and value of the products in the range.

All products within the range have also been reviewed in order to meet with the retailer’s strategy of making all private brand packaging widely recyclable, reusable, or home compostable by 2023. The supermarket has committed to reducing Essential Waitrose packaging by 15% with a total saving of nearly 2000 tones.

Key packaging highlights from the range include:

  • Essential Olives have moved from glass jars to steel cans, saving 92 tons of glass packaging a year
  • The removal of zip seals from all Essential dried fruit bags has saved 2 tons of plastic a year
  • The Essential chilled bread packaging has changed the material to save just short of 1.5 tons annually
  • Removing the plastic dust guard from the opening of Essential tissue boxes has saved just over 2 ¾ tons of plastic a year
  • For the whole of the Essential frozen fruit range, all bags have moved to improved and fully recyclable packaging, saving nearly 1 tonne every year

Waitrose Karen GraleyPackaging Manager for Waitrose, Karen Graley says: “We are committed to reducing the amount of packaging we use, for all our products. For Essential Waitrose, we set ourselves the target of reducing packaging, including single-use plastic by 15%, which we are on track to do by September 2020. We are really proud of this as it helps us move even closer to eliminate unnecessary plastic and make all own-brand packaging widely recycled, reusable, or home-compostable by 2023.”

The range will also make it easier than ever before to eat a healthy diet with the majority of the range including products that support a healthy, balanced diet. At least a third of the products will be signposted with the help of our ‘Good Health’ logo, which guarantees a clear nutritional benefit providing vitamins, minerals, and healthier fats that are important as part of a balanced diet.

Brand Manager for Waitrose, Beth Elliot says: “Our Essential Waitrose range has been created by experts to exhibit the standout quality and value that Essential Waitrose products have to offer. Our aim is to offer the highest welfare, quality and value products which we know our customers expect. Supporting our farmers and suppliers remains a key priority and with the new design we hope our customers will be even more drawn to the range and the new products within it.”

Waitrose Executive Chef, Martyn Lee and Waitrose Senior Development Chef, Zoe Simons pick their must have Essential Waitrose products that make any dish delicious.

Martyn’s Top 5 Essential productsWaitrose-Martyn-Lee

Essential Waitrose Parmigiano Reggiano
“This is one item I always have in my fridge, ready to add to any dish that needs an umami hit – in particular I love adding shavings of parmesan over Cavolo Nero sautéed in a little salted butter – it really elevates the dish.”

Essential Waitrose Greek Style Yoghurt
“I tend to use lots of yoghurt in my cooking. The acidic properties perfectly enrich marinades, tenderize cuts of meat and add a cooling touch to the spicy food. It’s also great mixed with self-rising flour to create a simple flatbread dough.”

Essential Waitrose Strong White Bread Flour
“The process of bread-making and nurturing a dough is always beautifully cathartic for me. Even if I’m using a blend of flours, I’ll always have a proportion of this flour in the recipe. It’s the perfect strength to create a brilliant bread structure with delicious flavor.”

Essential Waitrose British Smoked Bacon Lardons
“This ingredient forms the foundation of many of my recipes. The subtle smoke adds a depth of flavor and when cooked fully, it provides a great base to a ragu or Bolognese.  It’s also perfect to add depth and texture to a classical Beef Bourguignon – a recipe that shouldn’t be rushed and takes me several days when I do it properly!”

Essential Waitrose Frozen Dark Sweet Cherries 
“I love using frozen ingredients and I’m a big fan of preserving food when it is at its best. I might use these cherries in a dessert or smoothie, but they also work brilliantly in savory dishes. Throw some into a rich, boozy gravy to pair with game, or in a sauce with garlic, thinly sliced caramelized red onions and a splash of good wine and stock to make a perfect sauce to complement pork.”

Waitrose Senior Development Chef, Zoe SimonsZoe’s Top 5 Essential products

Essential Waitrose Whole Chicken
“Our chicken has so much flavor – thanks to our high welfare standards – that I don’t need to do a lot to it for it to taste amazing! I normally just drizzle some oil and fresh herbs and I always look forward to what I can create with the leftovers.”

Essential Waitrose Aubergines
“I use our aubergines(eggplant) for lots of recipes but one of my favorite things is slowly roasting them in the oven, removing the flesh and then cooking them down with onions, olive olive, turmeric, dried mint and chopped tomatoes to make aubergine caviar. This makes a great meat-free dinner.”

Essential Waitrose Orzo
“Whenever I’m in a rush the orzo comes out of the cupboard! It cooks in eight minutes and I can put it in a salad or make a quick risotto alternative with prawns and asparagus, finished with a handful of rocket and parmesan.”

Essential Waitrose Hummus
“Hummus is so much more than just a dip for carrot sticks, but I do use it for that as well! If I want to create a mezze dinner this is the star of the show. It works perfectly with falafel, is great with flatbreads and is always a crowd pleaser when topped with Cooks’ Ingredients Zhough – a spicy, herby sauce. A crowd pleaser all round!”

Essential Waitrose La Dora Artichoke Hearts
“These are so versatile. They’re absolutely delicious served simply in a salad but if you blitz them up with some parmesan and fresh parsley, you have a quick and flavorsome pesto to spread on top of chicken or stirred through spaghetti.”