A group of Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines have designed a range of chilli chutney sauces in an attempt to set palates and supermarket shelves on fire, raising cash for charity in the process.

While the chutneys will predominantly be stocked in local retailers, the team behind the range has already scored a major internal partnership with the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Acceptance of the fiery condiment has already been beyond the team’s widest dreams with £1000 worth of orders taken over the first weekend of production following a teaser announcement on social media sites.

Profits to charity

The bulk of profit from the collection of six sauces – which range from extremely hot, to mild heat in taste – will go to The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, the principle charity of the Royal Navy.

With a very competitive pricing strategy it is expected that ships and establishments nationwide will choose to back their namesake’s chutney and sell them at a price other than RRP, with the additional profits generated going to their own nominated charities if they so wish.

Daniel Jagger, Operations Manager for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, says: “This chilli chutney range represents an inspired way for our serving force to raise money for their charity and we hope that others will continue to be just as inventive. We’re sure that the range will be a roaring success and are confident that our deployed fleets will always have a little space on board for some chutney.”

Currently on sale through the website www.thousandhills.co.uk, it is hoped the £2.50 jars will be lining the shelves of major supermarket chains in a few months time. Buyers from some of the country’s biggest names have been in touch and the masterminds behind the range are awaiting follow-up calls.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Simon Hayman MBE, the Base Warrant Officer of HMS Excellent on Whale Island in Portsmouth, and Warrant Officer Class 1 Miles Hall RM, are the brainchildren behind the project.

"There is already a Commando chilli chutney range that was being used in the dining halls on the island and I saw a chance to create a Royal Navy product that could also be sold externally to raise money for charity,” Simon explained. “We formed a small committee and designed a range of our own chilli chutneys with a company called Thousand Hills, then we came up with the relevant label and jar design ourselves.”  

The team – which is made up of Simon, Miles, Colour Sergeant Andy Crofts RM, Chief Petty Officer Stu Guest, CSgt Taff Williams RM and Mr Bob Mullen, an ex-Chief in the Royal Navy - also conducted their own market research to gauge the products’ appeal.

They sent samples to HMS Collingwood in Fareham; gave them to the dining halls in HMS Excellent – and even tested the general public’s view at an impromptu taste test at Glasgow Airport. Thousand Hills also took the products to a chilli fair where attendees voiced their appreciation for the product.

The final six products are all based on Royal Navy ‘Jackspeak’ – vocabulary that is individual to the Service – to give it a unique place on supermarket shelves.

These are ‘Harry Redders’, an extremely hot chilli chutney; ‘Redders’, a hot chilli chutney; ‘Beach Banyan’, a tomato chilli chutney; ‘Nozzer’, a mild garlic and chilli variety; ‘Flight Deck’, a barbecue flavoured chilli chutney; and ‘Sundodger’, an apple, cinnamon and chilli compot.

Photo caption: The latest product in the chilli chutney range - the 'scran kit'

Scran like no other

Already further innovations are being created following these early successes. A ‘Scran Rescue Kit’, made up of four miniature bottles of chutneys ties all the most complementary tasting sauces together.

“The idea is that if people sit down to a meal and find it needs some extra seasoning they can just pull out the Scran Rescue Kit,” explained Simon. “We have all tasted the products and agreed that they taste really good. It is important that we get the flavours right so our market research really helped with that, and also with the design of the labels and jars which have been changed several times to make sure they are perfect.”

The team are now all set to take their product to various chilli festivals across the South – with Shoreham, Southsea, Dorset and Bournemouth Air Show booked in over the coming few weeks.

“What started off as an idea has really grown legs,” Simon added. “We are very proud of the chilli chutney range and are looking forward to a busy few months ahead. There are many people who have helped with progressing the idea and Lieutenant Commander Lee Davies at the Directorate of Media and Communications Marketing department has been particularly invaluable from a Royal Navy perspective.”

To find out more about the chilli chutney range and follow their progress log on to www.facebook.com/royalnavychilli