HP, Branston and Lea & Perrins sales down as Brits go off the sauce

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Traditional sauces and condiments are failing to cut the mustard with today’s shoppers - plunging eight of the top 10 brands into decline.

Volume sales of products such as brown sauce, Worcester sauce, pickles and vinegar have fallen. Consumers have developed a taste for more exotic and spicier sauces, and are also cutting back on the traditional foods mainstream sauces often accompany.

Among the brands hardest hit by the slump are classic British table sauces such as HP, which is down 8.6% by volume year-on-year [SymphonyIRI 52 w/e 9 June 2012] Baxters (-13.3%) Branston (-12%) and Lea & Perrins (-8.9%). Even sales of traditional ethnic brands, including Amoy and Sharwood’s, have dropped.

“Changing consumer habits are key,” said Mintel senior food analyst Amy Price. “There’s been a shift away from the types of food people have traditionally eaten sauces with, such as cooked breakfasts and roast dinners.”

Brits were becoming more adventurous and willing to experiment with sauces, added Alain Chua, global marketing manager for Blue Dragon - one of the two top 10 brands in volume growth. “Their repertoire is growing but they only have so much room in their cupboard or fridge.”

Heinz, the other top 10 brand in volume growth, said the poor weather had hurt the market. “This had a direct impact, with people having fewer barbecues, a key usage occasion for sauces,” said Heinz sauces marketing director Jane Jeffreys. Industry observers suggested Heinz ketchup had bucked the trend thanks to its versatility and because it had kept pace with consumer tastes by launching products such as chilli variants.

Own label products have also stolen market share from some brands, with volume sales of own label sauces and condiments up 1.9% year-on-year in an overall market down 1%.

Focus On Sauces & Condiments

Readers' comments (3)

  • As per my letter to the Grocer 24th September 2011, Leave the Classic Products Alone. Not surprised sales are falling. the HP brand has been ruined by recipe engineering. Life is just not worth living any more. The only excuse for a Saturday morning full English was the HP sauce that rounded off the experience. I do not bother any more just plod on with awful muesli, granola, bran flakes etc.

    Someone who knows what they are talking about please tell the Mintel girl no-one ever had HP sauce with a roast, not even in the most northern parts of the north. They have gravy silly. People do talk rubbish don't they?

    The chap who invented HP sauce Harry Palmer (not the Michael Caine one) would not believe what is in that bottle today. Sod the salt and all the so called bad for you stuff just bring production back to Aston (difficult as the old site is now a new one not making HP sauce). Bye bye oh beloved HP sauce you will be lamented in time. Heinz fault and the French before that. Awful people!

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  • Hp also shot themselves in the foot by moving production to Holland. How can it be a classic British sauce when it's not even made here? Stick to Hammonds Chop Sauce, it's better anyway.

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  • I totally agree with you Simon. I am bereft that the HP sauce recipe has been politically correctly changed. I miss the original HP. What I can't understand is why they can't keep the orginal recipe sauce and provide a low sodium option like baked beans.

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