From classic yellow mustard to a low-sodium Szechwan marinade, condiments and sauces are in demand. In 2016, consumers spurred the condiment and sauce market to $24 billion in sales, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.
Last year saw a 2% uptick in growth in the market, compared to the previous five years. The increase in consumer spending is expecting to continue year-to-year, with a projected annual 1.5% increase in purchases through 2021.
The six top trends contributing to the increase include exotic flavor profiles, diverse flavors mixed with classic ones, increased gluten-free options, organic and non-GMO, environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility, and low-sodium and low-sugar offerings.
The sauce and condiment market has diversified, and is now reaping the reward. It’s an industry that has had to rethink some of its products, as many customers are looking for healthier options.
Millennials, who represent 23.4% of the U.S. population, according to Census Bureau data, are always looking for healthier but still flavorful sauces and condiments. This demographic has helped boost the market for exotic flavored sauces, including the now ubiquitous Sriracha. As new food trends include more unique flavor profiles from Africa and Asia, look for new condiments and sauces featuring these spices.
A growing number of heath-focused consumers are also drawn to organic and non-GMO products with clean labels. While transitioning a product to be certified organic or non-GMO is not cheap or fast, that seal is attractive to those who want to see it. Many major manufacturers are in the midst of overhauling legacy products — though newer condiments and sauces appearing in the market can launch with those ingredients in mind. Many of these products come from small startups, making it easier for them to select the types of components that consumers won't find objectionable.
Schultz's Gourmet, a small family-owned company based in Boulder, Colorado, recently launched a line of new barbecue and cooking hot sauce flavors that exemplify these new demands by the consumer. They advertise that they use “real food ingredients,” avoiding the use of preservatives, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup and MSG. The product label also introduces the back story behind the family company, which consumers can learn more about on their website. This also leverages the brand's authenticity — something that millennials admire and are willing to pay more for.
But the intrigue of sauces and dressings goes beyond the label. Kraft Heinz launched Sriracha ketchup two years ago. The condiment's third ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, and the product is not organic or produced by a small company. However, the product may help ease a shopper who is curious to try the spicy sauce, but dubious about purchasing the large bottle with a rooster on it. He or she may take comfort in seeing the flavor on a familiar bottle with a trusted brand.