“We’ve heard on many different occasions of people mixing TRUFF with their pasta sauce, to add both the wonderful umami of truffle and a subtle kick of heat. We too have frequently added TRUFF to our pasta and wanted to create a more cohesive application that the whole family can enjoy,” Ajluni told FoodNavigator-USA.
Since its launch in 2017, TRUFF has grown its presence from the curated culinary sections of high-end retailers to nationwide distribution with Whole Foods, where it’s currently the #1 selling hot sauce, said Ajluni.
TRUFF began as an Instagram account (@sauce) and in 2017, TRUFF hot sauces were launched. (Pictured: TRUFF co-founders, Nick Ajluni and Nick Guillen)
In early 2019, the brand announced a valuation of over $25m, and in 2020, the company registered over 300% growth while expanding its retail footprint to more than 3,000 stores across the US and globally in Australia, South Korea, and Kuwait.
Launching premium pasta sauce offerings – available in Black Truffle Pomodoro and Black Truffle spicy Arrabbiata varieties – will propel the emerging brand into promising new categories as the sub-segment of premium pasta sauces has experienced strong growth throughout the pandemic as consumers are increasingly looking to re-create restaurant-inspired meals a home, according to IRI research.
Both products pack a deep umami flavor from the black winter truffle, and spice from red chili peppers, that can transform “lazy dinners into adventurous dining,” said Ajluni.
The products will first be available in select Whole Foods store locations (as well as Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus) and online through Amazon for $29.99/2-pack, $56.98/4-pack, $80.97/6-pack, $152.94/12-pack.
Similar to the clean, bold design aesthetic of its hot sauce bottles, TRUFF pasta sauce packaging features the same “hero aesthetic with gold foil descriptors and clean spacious branding” along with custom pasta lids which are made to articulate “a truffle feel” with a ridged edge.
Premium pasta sauce heats up
A recent IRI report found that consumers across the board are trading up in many categories including pasta sauce. According to US retail sales data for the 12 weeks to October 4, 2020, premium priced products (items price at 25% to 50% above the subcategory average) have gained more than 5.2 points of share in pasta sauce vs the same period a year ago.
“TRUFF’s Pasta Sauce is a delicious evolution of what we’ve done with our existing hot sauce portfolio. With the expansion, we will continue to put a
premium, stylized spin on consumer categories that have been historically dominated by legacy brands,” commented Reno Yanes, who joined TRUFF as its vice president of sales earlier this year and will be responsible for the company’s growth strategy and operations.
Yanes was previously vice president of sales for Primal Kitchen, a premium brand that has made its mark in the pasta sauce category with a line of certified-keto products, which have gained a +0.4% points in share gain during COVID-19.
“Reno brings years of retail and operational experience, specifically in the condiment space. During Reno's time at Primal Kitchen he was an integral part of the team that successfully launched numerous products across many different categories. His great track record of scaling and innovating will help TRUFF identify new categories to fuel our innovation and expand our presence in retail,” said Ajluni.
Ajluni added that the company will continue to target multichannel growth while fueling further product innovation and development.
“Our goal is to continue to create amazing products, present them in a beautiful way, and tell the story of them through our digital and retail platforms,” added Ajluni.