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Tubby Tom’s: Sizing Up Hot Sauces - An Aisab Case Study

Tubby Tom’s: Sizing Up Hot Sauces - An Applied Innovation for Students in Business Case Study

The Applied Innovation for Students in Business (AISAB) project supports SMEs in generating innovation through student led consultancy projects across Europe.  In spring 2018 five projects were carried out by University of Gloucestershire MBA students.  The projects have had immediate impact and are projected to create over £500,000 in value for their clients over the next 5 years.  This is the story of one of those projects.

The Client

Tubby Tom’s was born in January 2015.  After Tom made a batch of BBQ sauce in 2014, his friends liked it so much that he started selling it at his local farm shop.  The sauce sold so well that he decided to give it a go as a business.  In their second year Tubby Tom’s got listed in Harvey Nichols, one of the UK’s most vibrant luxury department stores.   Not only was that a great achievement, it gave great exposure across the country.  Struggling to keep up with his wholesale orders Tom quit his day-job to focus on hot sauce full time in September 2017.  With great brand image and strong social media presence Tubby Tom’s was looking for support in growing the business. 

The Project

The project investigated what current and potential customers most valued in Tubby Tom’s current offering and where value could be added for customers through innovation in the product and services offered.  The team carried out a netnography drawing together customer comments on social media to build up a picture of what customers valued and where they wanted change in the products and services.  This was backed with by 106 responses to a survey which collected information on customer preferences.

The Innovation

The results showed high levels of satisfaction with Tubby Tom’s products and engagement with the brand.  The project recommended two innovations:


The project team identified demand for larger bottles of sauce.  Introducing larger bottles of sauce would be a win-win for customers and Tubby Tom’s.  It would increase value for money for customers and at the same time volumes and margins for the business. 

Roaring recipes

The team suggested that Tubby Tom’s could add value to customers by extending it recipes to cover all of its products.  It was clear that whilst the customers loved the novel products it wasn’t obvious to everyone how to use them.  Recipes helped the more nervous customer use their purchases – and being delicious drove more sales.

The Impact

Having received their report Tubby Tom’s almost immediately supplemented their 150g bottles with new 1KG bottles of source on their web site.  Sales are already going well creating better value for customers, contributing to higher volume of hot sauce sold and increasing profits for Tubby Tom’s. 

Tubby Tom’s are in the process of creating and posting new recipes to their web site.  It has now become part of their product development process to always have a recipe in mind when introducing a new product to their range. 

The Links

Tubby Toms:

Tubby Toms at Harvey Nichols:

Tubby Tom’s: Sizing Up Hot Sauces