Brandon Clark has always been interested in cooking, cultures, and hot sauces. He attended culinary school and worked as a chef in the restaurant and corporate food industry for 20 years. On the weekends, Clark would play tennis with his buddies and would bring different hot sauces for them to try. One of his friends, who is from Kerala, India, mentioned they don’t have hot sauces where he’s from, and that sparked an idea with Clark of global hot sauces. Clark studied southern Indian cuisine, formulated a hot sauce that would complement those foods, and shared it with his friend who said it tasted like home. In 2017, Clark + Hopkins, flavorful hot sauces inspired by cuisines from around the world, was born. To stand out in a highly competitive category, Clark joined RangeMe to increase their visibility with retail buyers. Read on to learn more about how Clark perfected their RangeMe profile to spark interest with retailers like Food Lion.
“Bringing the World into Your Kitchen”
Each hot sauce that Clark + Hopkins releases are inspired by different places around the world. Clark studies the cuisines of different regions to capture their most-used ingredients into a single bottle. “Our global lineup includes hot sauces inspired by Kerla (South India), Laos (Southeast Asia), Assam (Northeast India), Ethiopia (Northeast Africa), Quintana Roo (Yucutan, Mexico), Oaxaca (Southwest Mexico), Virginia, Chesapeake Bay, and Texas,” shares Clark. “We’ve also released Bloody Mary mixes that are receiving noteworthy buzz.”
The hot sauce category is extremely competitive and global hot sauces is a growing trend in 2020. But Clark + Hopkins is leading the way by embracing a global approach to crafting hot sauces that can easily be incorporated into quick and delicious recipes. They’ve been so successful in this space that Clark + Hopkins won Best New Hot Sauce in 2019 from the Specialty Food Association (SFA), and their Chesapeake Bloody Mary won the 2019 Scovie Award. They were even featured on Season 7 of YouTube’s most popular show: Hot Ones (watch Bill Burr, Jack Black (see video below), and other celebrities try the sauce).
The most versatile hot sauces on the market
Clark + Hopkins creates hot sauces that not only bring the heat but are also flavorful and versatile. Each sauce has a story, each sauce complements the flavors used by different cultures, and each sauce is easy to cook with. “Our hot sauces are turnkey, they’re not just topical like most hot sauces, you can cook with ours with just a couple of ingredients from your kitchen,” says Clark.
Clark + Hopkins is heating up retail
After attending the Winter Fancy Food show in 2018, Clark + Hopkins joined RangeMe and got RangeMe Verified™ to boost their visibility with retail buyers on the platform.
Knowing the hot sauce category is highly competitive, Clark knew he had to create a profile that stood out and shared all the right information about what makes their products unique. With the help of his Supplier Success Manager, Clark was able to create a stellar cover image that highlighted the brand’s awards and recognition.
Shortly after making profile updates, Clark received an exciting message from a Food Lion Analyst that also sources local products for their local program. She shared that Food Lion was looking for a Bloody Mary Mix, as it does phenomenal on their local racks and while searching on RangeMe for local products to North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia, she came across Clark + Hopkins.
After receiving samples, Food Lion brought Clark + Hopkins into about 280 local stores across the states previously mentioned, and their products have become a must-have with Food Lion customers.
Up next for Clark + Hopkins
Since their message from Food Lion, Clark has received several messages from other retailers looking to bring Clark + Hopkins products into retail stores. And with the pandemic carrying on, Clark has had to pivot how they do business as trade shows have been canceled. But luckily for him, Clark + Hopkins has the upper hand as their hot sauces are so versatile and easy to cook with it has been a smooth transition in how they market the hot sauces to consumers who are now choosing to cook at home vs dine out.