Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, Global Food Analyst at Mintel, says that consumers are willing to use an assortment of sauces to add flavour to their meals, yet many sauces do not call out how versatile they can be.
In a blog post on the company’s web site, Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, Global Food Analyst at Mintel, says that consumers are willing to use an assortment of sauces to add flavour to their meals, yet many sauces do not call out how versatile they can be. While the industry separates cooking sauces and table sauces/condiments into different categories, she notes, half of Canadian and American condiment/dressing consumers say that any sauce can be a condiment, which consumers associate with versatility. The majority of US and Canadian condiment/dressing consumers say condiments/dressings have many uses and well over half of British condiment eaters say they use condiments in a variety of ways.
According to Bartelme, there is an opportunity for table and cooking sauce brands to take advantage of consumers’ willingness to migrate between categories by omitting traditional definitions and treating more sauces in all-purpose ways. This, she believes, could help consumers explore a full range of uses for sauce products, allowing for deeper integration into consumers’ meals and increasing purchase rates.
Consumers don’t think of the sauces they buy as being defined as a table or cooking sauce, she continues, claiming that product developers can do a better job of positioning their sauces as multipurpose to drive further uses across new occasions.
For example, she points out, introductions of sauces positioned specifically for use with French fries have been negligible. However, many kinds of sauces could pair well with fries, Bartelme says, including Taste Domination’s Wing Sauce, which the brand says works perfectly with fries. While only one in five US consumers buy flavoured mayonnaise, a flavoured option could be positioned as a dip for fries, a base for a sauce, a taco topping and more, Bartelme thinks.
Suggestions such as these could pique consumer interest and help them think about sauce types in a new way, perhaps increasing their usage or encouraging consumers to make a purchase in the first place, she goes on.
While many sauces are inherently multipurpose, such as tartar or mint sauce, some consumers don’t feel that way, adds Bartelme, who says that messaging on these types of sauces could help change consumers’ idea of dish-specific sauces, encouraging consumers to use these sauces more often.
Nearly four in five UK dish-specific table sauce users say pairing suggestions on pack would prompt them to try dish-specific sauces with less traditional dishes, she notes, while half say merchandising with foods they traditionally are not paired with would encourage them to try the sauce with a new dish.
According to Bartelme, consumers do not appear to be limiting how often they are purchasing condiments, with a third of US consumers saying they purchased eight or more condiments in the last six months to Oct 2017. Yet, nearly the same percentage say they struggle to finish their condiments before they go bad.
Suggestions for using these condiments in multiple ways could help alleviate this fear of waste, Bartelme claims. It could also serve as a way to help consumers feel confident making even more condiment purchases to add to their repertoire.
Sauce consumers don’t care whether a sauce is technically a cooking sauce or a condiment, and they choose to use anything at different times to dress up a dish, concludes Bartelme. Table and cooking sauce brands have an opportunity to willingly blur these lines and turn their products into multipurpose sauces to further inspire consumers to use products in new ways, she adds, saying that more detailed instructions could help consumers incorporate sauces they already buy into new occasions, as well as making them feel more comfortable taking a chance on new varieties.