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The leading five brands shed a combined £36.6m between them

Cooking sauce sales have slumped as Brits spend less time cooking in the wake of the pandemic – and brands have borne the brunt.

Sales of ambient cooking sauces fell by 4.3% to £724.2m, while volumes plunged 10.1% in the 52 weeks ending 5 September 2022, Kantar data shows.

The leading five brands – Old El Paso (–7.8%), Dolmio (–6.0%), Sharwood’s (–13.5%), Blue Dragon (–6.7%) and Patak’s (–9.6%) – shed a combined £36.6m between them [NielsenIQ MAT 23 July 2022].

Category leader Old El Paso saw £10.1m of its value wiped away, on volumes down 7.9%, while number-two brand Dolmio lost £6m on volumes down 7.2%.

Number three brand Sharwood’s was the biggest loser. It haemorrhaged £10.3m on volumes down 17.6%.

According to Kantar analyst Oliver Akiwumi, shoppers were increasingly looking for “quick and convenient options” following the end of covid restrictions and a return to office working.

“Consequently, the ambient cooking sauces category has been impacted, due to sauces frequently being part of a recipe or a scratch cooking occasion,” he said.

Brits making 7.9% fewer shopping trips was the “leading driver” of these declines, said Akiwumi. Plus, shoppers were moving “from more expensive brands to cheaper brands, or even own-label” to save money, he added.

The Grocer has approached sauce brands for comment.