heinz seriously good mayo

Mayonnaise has stolen ketchup’s crown as Britain’s bestselling sauce as foodie-focused launches have surged and the battle between Kraft Heinz and Unilever intensified.

Brits have splurged an extra £9.8m on mayo, a rise of 6.9% to £152.2m on volumes up 7.3% [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 23 April 2017]. Ketchup is down 2.7% to £145.5m. Volumes fell 4.2%.

But top mayo brand Hellmann’s has failed to cash in, as brand owner Unilever was drawn into a battle with rival Kraft Heinz following the 2016 launch of Heinz Seriously Good Mayonnaise.

Hellmann’s is down £4.8m (4.7%) on volumes down 8.7% [IRI 52 w/e 24 June 2017]. Seriously Good has racked up £13.8m in the past year alone, more than a fifth of the £61.3m value of Hellmann’s core Real Mayonnaise line.

NPD from smaller players has also driven growth, with mayo from brands such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Nando’s gaining listings.

“There have been some interesting innovations within mayo, while ketchup has remained largely the same,” said Laurie Booker, marketing & development director at brand design agency Cowan. “A wider flavour choice means mayo has become more appealing and intriguing.”

Mayo brands are also playing the ‘natural’ card, emphasising quality. “Seriously Good is made with quality ingredients and free-range eggs, enabling consumers to upgrade their mayonnaise,” said Kraft Heinz marketing lead Rhodri Williams.

Unilever responded by relaunching Hellmann’s and removing artificial colours, preservatives and additives.

Now the battle between Heinz and Unilever, which took a twist earlier this year when Unilever rejected a £115bn hostile takeover bid from Heinz, has bubbled over into ketchup with the March launch of two new Hellmann’s tomato sauces.

Hellmann’s honey-sweetened and green & red tomato ketchups have so far racked up £1.4m.