Branston Pickle-flavoured rice cakes, Heinz sandwiches, Reggae Reggae ready meals, Tabasco Pepper Sauce pizzas the supermarket aisles are awash with table sauce brand extensions at the moment.

And the signs point to further product variants hitting the shelves. Given the prospect of additional revenue streams, it comes as little surprise that this is an area companies are taking seriously, with Unilever even creating an incubator team tasked with investigating possibilities for brands such as Hellmann's and Colman's.

"We are always looking to offer consumers trusted brands in areas they may not have thought of," says Unilever category leader for dressings Cat Armitage. "As long as they're strong ideas and have a good brand fit, we think it's a good way to create loyalty in a category."

One of the key benefits of these extensions is increasing the brands' presence throughout other areas of the store, according to Premier Foods' head of category for savoury, Carine San Juan.

"Unless you have a product that's truly dreadful no brand would turn down the opportunity of getting product placement in another part of the store," says San Juan. "That's a great incentive to start with especially when you have products where you're always trying to drive your penetration. So you're not going to turn down that opportunity to put it in front of consumers."

Senior brand manager for Heinz Salad Cream Lynsey Hurst agrees that the combination of driving consumer trial, creating new usage occasions and generating brand exposure in new areas of the store, is a compelling combination and one the company intends to further explore.

"Heinz continues to review this opportunity following the exit of the licensed sandwich range last year," confirms Hurst.

Focus On Sauces & Condiments