HUMAN RESOURCES | Staff Reporter, UK

Wasabi names Kate Lucas as first managing director for grocery division

The move comes as its products in Sainsbury’s stores see a 96% surge in value sales to £14.7 million year-on-year.

Wasabi announced it has appointed Kate Lucas as its first managing director for grocery following the popularity of its ready meals range in Sainsbury’s stores.

Lucas joined the Japanese sushi and bento brand earlier this month and has been tasked with expanding the brand’s grocery retail team. She spent over a decade at Gü Puds, working her way up from commercial manager to head of product development and general director for its French division, followed by three years as managing director for Kind Snacks. Her most recent role was chief commercial officer at Plenish, where she spent just over a year.

The move comes as Wasabi products in Sainsbury’s stores see a 96% surge in value sales to £14.7 million year-on-year since they were added in 2019.

“It’s no secret that 2020 and the beginning of 2021 has been challenging for hospitality but what’s been really positive has been seeing how well our 13-SKU home bento range has been doing at Sainsbury’s, as consumers seek out restaurant-quality meals at home,” said Henry Birts, CEO of Wasabi Sushi & Bento.

“We believe there are huge opportunities to scale our home bento range and to build the Wasabi brand further through the retail channel. Not every town and city in the UK has a Wasabi restaurant (yet), but we’re nonetheless seeing strong sales in places where our name is becoming synonymous with quality chilled supermarket meals rather than high street outlets.”

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