BAXTER’S ORIGINAL

Since 2013, Baxter’s Original has been perfecting recipes for their hypoallergenic sauces that everybody could consume. With the healthiest ingredients and exceptional flavours, this family business is changing the world of sauces one step at a time. New owners, Berrin and Mekla talk to Supermarket News about their experience taking over the business.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

“Baxter’s Original is a boutique family run business based on the Miramar Peninsula in Wellington, New Zealand. It all began back in 2013 when the Baxter family; Scott, Erika and their two young boys relocated from America to New Zealand for Scott to work on a project within the film industry. Upon arriving in New Zealand, Scott went searching in stores for sauces that he and his family could enjoy. However, the entire Baxter family suffers from a variety of different food allergies!

The products he discovered were full of artificial colouring and preservatives with hidden wheat (gluten) thickeners. Scott then set out on a quest to create his own BBQ and hot sauces using only quality ingredients and good old fashioned tried and tested hot fill preserving techniques.

In July 2017 Scott and Erika decided it was time to head back to the USA however, they couldn’t just up and leave New Zealand as they had put their heart and soul into establishing their sauce business.

It was then Scott and Erika asked myself (Berrin) and my partner Mekla, if we would be interested in taking over the New Zealand side of the operation whilst the Baxters, would get the brand established back home in the USA.

Baxter’s Original BBQ and hot sauces have won ten plus awards locally and internationally to date. The ‘Dragons Breath’ BBQ sauce took out the 2017 ‘World Champion’ title in the BBQ sauce division at the World Hot Sauce awards in the USA.”

What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

“Our three BBQ sauce flavours are, Sweet & Smoky, Spicy Bourbon and Dragons Breath. These are available in 300ml bottles for retail and in bulk five-litre containers for the foodservice sector which are proving very popular with chefs.

Consumers have become very conscious of the ingredients in their food. Stand out features of our products include being gluten-free and containing absolutely no artificial colour or flavourings. Also, having a two-year ambient shelf life unopened is an advantage for storage and distribution, once opened the sauce will remain fresh for months in the fridge.

There are two hot sauces currently available in our New Zealand range which are Landmine, this is a medium spice chilli-lime sauce, and Jolokia Rum Voodoo which is a delicious fusion of flavours from New Orleans and the Caribbean.”

Has there been any recent company news?

“Back in February this year, Wendy’s placed a large order for our World Champion BBQ sauce ‘Dragons Breath’. This featured in a burger called the ‘Dragonator’ for a six-week promotion throughout their nationwide restaurants during April and May. This was our largest order to date and certainly helped propel us into a contract manufacturer more quickly than we had anticipated fulfilling the order on time.

As part of the Review Publishing ‘Pitch Me’ competition in August, Baxter’s Original was one of ten products selected out of hundreds of entries to present our product range to a panel of nationwide foodservice buyers in Auckland. This was an exciting opportunity to get our product noticed and speak to the decision-makers in person.

Our Dragons Breath BBQ sauce was selected by Leroy’s Bar in the CBD to feature on their Burger Welly entry called ‘Lucy’s Got Dragons Breath.’ After a few days into the competition, the social media platforms exploded with the most incredible hype for this burger. Leroy’s eventually sold 7000 of the Lucy burgers in the two weeks to great critical acclaim and took out second prize overall.

Having the sauce’s name ‘Dragons Breath’ associated with the burgers has certainly helped grow the exposure of Baxter’s Original brand in the retail and foodservice sectors.”

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

“Yes, indeed there is. The whole journey for the company has constantly bee about expansion and eventually dedicating our passion for Baxter’s Original into a full-time career. It’s a great product, and with plenty more determination I believe that we are on track to make that a reality.

As we are now working with an Auckland based contract manufacturer, Baxter’s Original can evolve into this next stage of growth to meet the demand for our BBQ sauce range. We have also started working with a 3PL (third party logistics) distributor based in Auckland which means we can focus more on the sales and marketing aspects of the business.

The label design and website are also undergoing a revamp so it’s an exciting time for us to be getting on the sauce!”

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?

“Baxter’s Original website, www.baxtersoriginal.co.nz is the best portal to find out where to purchase our range.

Currently, our bottled sauce range is available at a selection of supermarkets in Auckland and Wellington and served at local cafes and restaurants here in the capital. There are also boutique stores and butcheries who stock the product within the North Island. There has been a lot of momentum this year with our BBQ sauce product in the foodservice sector. Producing the five-litre containers in large quantities and working with national distributors is a key focus moving forward. Naturally, we want to grow the retail stockists to have the 300ml bottles of all the BBQ flavours available nationwide also.”

Contact details for potential stockists or customers to get in touch?

Get in touch with Berrin Moody at saucy@baxtersoriginal.co.nz or call +64 21 474 402.