Trends in the sauces and condiments sector: versatility, accessibility and healthiness in every bite

In a context of inflation, supply chain disruptions and geopolitical challenges, consumers continue to re-evaluate their purchasing decisions. Value for money becomes a priority and manufacturers are forced to rethink their strategies to launch more affordable products in line with trends in sauces and condiments.

In this article, we will explore how brands in the industry can navigate these changing dynamics, focusing on crucial aspects such as naturalness, sustainability and versatility. In addition, we will discover how social media and dietary needs play an essential role in the evolution of the market.

TRENDS IN SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS

Value for money as a priority

Rising inflation fueled by the pandemic, supply chain problems and the conflict in Ukraine are reducing consumers' purchasing power, forcing them to adapt their buying behavior by reducing spending and seeking the best value for money.

For this reason, sauce manufacturers should not focus exclusively on savings as they run the risk of being perceived as 'low quality', but should focus on conveying value benefits and justifying their premium prices with more convenient formats.

Search for more natural options

Consumers are increasingly scrutinizing product labels and ingredient lists, including in the sauces market, in search of healthier, more natural options that suit their particular dietary needs and concerns. They place importance on products that are as unprocessed as possible and have a recognizable ingredient list.

Organic sauces and condiments have boomed in recent years, but they are expensive and consumers are opting for more affordable products.
Brands should therefore take advantage of the trend by formulating with natural ingredients and reducing additives and preservatives instead of using organic ingredients.

Source: Mintel GNPD - A year of innovation in cooking sauces & seasonings, 2023.

Uhh-mami Organic Ocean'ish. Organic broth (Denmark) - Developed from natural plant extracts. The organic product is suitable for sauces, dressings and vegetables, and contains no allergens or colorants.

Sustainability beyond packaging

Consumers expect companies to make significant changes to help contribute to the climate solution. Hence, sauce and cooking condiment brands are taking steps to reduce their packaging footprint, redesigning packaging with less material use and using bioplastics and recycled, as well as supporting climate initiatives.

In the following graph from Mintel's A Year of innovation in Cooking Sauces & Seasonings report, we can see how claims about sustainable packaging have been growing over the last 5 years:

Source: Mintel GNPD - A year of innovation in cooking sauces & seasonings, 2023.

Ottogi Teriyaki Sauce (South Korea) - It is packaged in a Bio PET container with 30% plant-based plastic and a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Improving the consumer experience

In an increasingly connected world, consumers are turning to social media for cooking inspiration, new recipes or presentation suggestions. By doing so, brands are helping to speed up and simplify meal preparation and are taking advantage of this by adding links or QRs on packaging that guide them to your website and the digital world.

© Melróse Origins. Freeze-dried chicken bone stock pumps (Australia) - Freeze-dried to retain all the nutrients, and each pump yields 250 ml of delicious and convenient stock (Australia).

Versatile sauces and condiments

Consumers are looking for sauces and condiments with a variety of uses and are looking for new and exciting flavor innovations to combine home-cooked meals with new experiences.

It is usual to add sauces to vegetables, carbohydrates and proteins, but with the growing demand for new usage occasions, brands can innovate around the application of their products, such as dressings, dips or spreads.

Source: Mintel GNPD, April 2019 - March 2023.

SUSTAINABILITY

Consumers are increasingly interested in reducing their environmental impact and are looking for alternatives to conventional dairy products. As a result, producers are using more sustainable ingredients and production processes such as eco-friendly packaging.

Although cow's milk stands out for its taste, price and versatility, more and more people are recognizing the negative impact of the dairy industry on the environment, increasing the demand for plant-based alternatives. Despite this, many consumers doubt the real impact of this change, so it is important that producers of plant-based beverages provide educational, credible and verifiable information about the environmental benefits of their products.

TASTE

Vegetable beverage producers are focusing on innovating and customizing their flavors, seeking to broaden their audience and overcome the taste barrier. This means improving the quality of these products and offering a wider variety of attractive options, tailored to individual consumer preferences.

In Europe, producers are experimenting with various base ingredients such as oats to improve the taste of vegetable beverages, while other ingredients such as almonds are losing popularity. On the other hand, neutral flavors continue to see the most launches in plant-based beverages.

Fila Manila Mild Caldereta Filipino. Tomato sauce (United States) Can be added simply to meat, seafood or vegetables, or used as a dipping sauce, bread spread, dip or condiment for rice, beans, soups, chili and stews.

Meeting dietary needs

Brands recognize the diversity of consumers' dietary needs because they are more aware and understand better how diet affects their physical and mental health.

While vegan, vegetarian, keto and paleo diets are relatively specific, consumers are more willing than ever to experiment with this lifestyle to determine what suits their individual needs. As a result, innovation revolves around specific recipes or diets and claims are added to packaging.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR INNOVATION IN SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS

Considering the trends in the sector, the experts of the Mintel platform highlight three opportunities for innovation in the sauces and condiments market:

Offer value to consumers with tight wallets.
As budgets remain tight, sauce brands will need to demonstrate a greater level of empathy for consumers' economic situations, for example, by highlighting financial benefits such as energy or cost savings over other solutions.

2. Advocate home cooking with healthy sauces.
Consumers are starting to cook healthier and more naturally. Sauce brands can focus on broader areas of functional and holistic health and offer more "homemade" solutions to compete.

3. Leverage telecommuting to offer quick fixes at home.
Sauce brands should openly highlight quick and economical solutions, make new suggestions for lunchtime uses such as salad dressings or dips, and help consumers reuse leftovers.

THE SAUCES MARKET IN SPAIN

Although the socioeconomic context hinders the growth of the food industry, the sauces and condiments sector is an innovative market, with a large number of launches year after year. As it is an attractive category and has a great capacity to adapt to consumer trends and needs, everything indicates that launches will continue with a positive trend.

In Spain, the sector is in good health. In fact, leaving aside fried tomato - with an already well-established track record - the sauces and condiments market has been recording an upward curve since 2013. (Alimarket, Sauces Sector Report 2022).

The current key to the sector, beyond adapting to the consumer's pocket with more affordable solutions, is focused on the segment called "other sauces", which includes the wide range of new flavors that has been developed in recent years: barbecue sauces, Asian sauces...

Thinking about launching a new bar that will be successful in the market?

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