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%.