Sauce Shop finds headspace with a scalable data solution

Sauce Shop

The brand: Sauce Shop

Sauce Shop is not only a brand of award-winning sauces – they’re also a food manufacturing business. Having launched in 2014 from their home kitchen, founders James and Pam now manage the production of about 40,000 units a week. They soon progressed from selling at farmers market to delis, to online – today Sauce Shop’s range is available in Co Op, Tesco Ireland and Sainsbury’s, as well as through Amazon and Shopify.

James Digva, Co-Founder and MD, spoke to us about how elm offers challenger brands easy access to crucial insights which are normally hidden deep in retailer’s data platforms.

The problem

A big-brand monopoly on data power

“Sainsbury’s makes their deepest data accessible to suppliers through a platform called Horizon. I’ve always found it quite painful that I couldn’t easily extract that data to manipulate it, and just do something a bit more useful with it. But the data is just very well hidden within that system.

“Nowadays, there are so many small FMCG brands in the supermarkets, and we just don’t have a big budget to make sense of this data. The traditional setup is that retailers sell their sales data to the large data companies who then repackage it and sell it to brands for a small fortune, so historically there’s probably not been much of a need or desire to make the supplier system better. It feels like there’s a monopoly on the system, because small brands can’t afford to spend money on full category data – but with elm, brands like us are able to break down those walls.”

“There’s a whole monopoly on the [data] system – but with elm, brands like us are able to break down those walls.”

Unscalable data processes

“I used to extract all our data manually and store it in Excel – it took hours of trawling through pages and pages of screens. But as our range and our distribution got bigger, that just became too much of an arduous job, so we gave up. And then we’d look at the data in a very broad way, but not in a very granular way, which is what we need to do, but not in the detail we needed to.”

The broken link of brick and mortar

“We’re big into e-commerce, we know digital and we’ve always had a lot of measures. With brick and mortar you’re very much in the dark as to whether individual initiatives are having impact, there is a lot of guess work involved.”

The solution

‘Swing store’ reports

“elm sends us weekly reports over email – they’ll highlight any stores that have got stock that’s not selling – so it might be that the stock’s in the back and not actually on the shelf. Our job is to then call the stores and see if we can figure out if something’s going wrong.

“That alone is huge for us. Retailers rate suppliers on their total sales divided by the number of stores you’re in. You need to hit a given number and if you don’t, you’re not performing. So if 10-20% of stores aren’t even selling the product, then it’s a problem.”

Custom dashboards

“With elm’s dashboards, we can see a very detailed breakdown by store by day – that’s fantastic if you’re planning some marketing activation and want to see the effect on a particular store, a region or city.

I can go in and see our product performance and how we’re trending over the past few weeks. It’s always very interesting. I can see which products are performing and if there’s been any movement in the products themselves and the range.”

Easy access

“elm lets us access our data far more easily and quickly. It’s a nice, fast interface. The onboarding process was a dream too. Cian and I had a chat on a Friday and by the Monday, we were up and running. I was so grateful for that, because I was like an excited child, and I just wanted to get in quickly.”

The results

– Sauce Shop is saving up to 4 hours a week on data extraction and consolidation alone
– elm has played a pivotal role in Sauce Shop’s strategy planning for 2021

Data-driven marketing strategy

“elm’s market share in Sainsbury’s feature is a huge one for us. It is incredibly interesting to have a clear view of where we sit within the category. That knowledge has given us a mandate to roll out marketing initiatives that have been stuck in the planning stage.”

“We’ve been able to think more strategically about what we’re going to do over the coming months, rather than spending all our time crunching the numbers.”


“Thanks to elm, we’ve been able to think more strategically about what we’re going to do over the coming months, rather than spending all our time crunching the numbers and copying digits from one screen to another.”


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