And with the barbecue culture setting a sizzling pace in the summer season, there has been a huge amount of innovation in this area in the last year that has significantly contributed to the overall market's growth. "Consumers are clamouring for variety and exciting new flavours," says Brian George, md of BMI Brand Marketing Group and organiser of National BBQ Week. "Barbecuing has lost its anorak image and is becoming a gourmet event. Consumers are buying more expensive cuts of meat, fish, burgers and sausages, and want more premium accompaniments to go with them. "Their barbecue tastes have become a great deal more sophisticated because of foreign travel, more affluent lifestyles and the influence of celebrity chefs and, as a result, they are keen to try out more imaginative and adventurous flavours from all round the world." Despite this willingness to experiment, the classic flavours and accompaniments are still the best-sellers, according to Taylor's Speciality Foods. Putting a figure on the size and performance of the marinades and barbecue accompaniments market is difficult because no-one is measuring it as total entity, leaving the leading brands to take readings of their own particular segments. Heinz measures the barbecue sauce sector and says it is worth £10m and growing at a phenomenal 31.5% [Taylor Nelson Sofres]. Heinz says it is number two in this area, behind HP, with its BBQ Sauce. Heinz brand value in the barbecue sauces sector during the summer increased by a massive 143%, says the company. Sauces marketing manager Nina Sellhammar says: "Barbecue owners account for more than 60% of the total barbecue sauce spend, and the period between April and September accounts for 70% of that spend." The tomato ketchup market is worth around £100m and Heinz has found that households with barbecues are heavier buyers of its Tomato Ketchup than other households. "They buy bigger quantities more frequently," says Sellhammar. "Tomato Ketchup has done extremely well in the last 12 months, increasing volume share to 57.5% and value share to 65%." [TNS] Its Condiment Sauces in four contemporary flavours, launched last year and intended as a side-of-plate enhancement to everyday meals, have also found a niche in the barbecue, says Sellhammar. "Usage has been wider than we originally anticipated. We know that 35% of all condiment sauce usage happens at barbecues." This summer its barbecue range will get a boost from a £10m marketing campaign across all its brands. It is kicking off the barbecue season with an offer across all its sauce range. Discovery Foods says demand is growing for traditional American style barbecue sauces. "Sales of these sauces grew 68% last year," says marketing director Paul Vita. "New product launches are keeping the market alive Our latest ­ Californian Honey n Chilli, which complements our Texan and cajun marinades ­ is a good example of flavour innovation. There is a definite move towards true tasting flavours," says Vita. The marinade sector is worth more than £6m, and in 2001 saw a value increase of 5.1% year-on-year, while volume was static (ACNielsen), according to Nando's which has recently published a report on the market. Managing director for grocery Phil Lynas says: "The lack of volume growth demonstrates that price and quality are key drivers of this marketplace. This can be attributed to new brands joining the category, such as Ainsley Harriott which entered the market with a higher than average rsp, plus the relative growth of current premium brands, which is moving the category into a more premium position." It is also an unusual category in that products are bought both on impulse and as a planned purchase around key holiday dates and events, says Lynas. "Recognisable brands are vital to the consumer at point of purchase for reassurance of quality and taste. This also means that, as an irregularly visited fixture where the driving force for the consumer is weather or occasion led, the category is not predominantly driven by price or promotion," he adds. The weather can have a very powerful affect on sales. "The first very hot weekend of 2001, at the end of May, saw more than a quarter of a million marinades sold, a staggering 300% higher than an average summer weekend," says Lynas. "Taking all these factors together, retailers should plan their outdoor eating fixture well in advance to maximise the opportunities of planned purchase occasions, such as Bank Holidays, and impulse sales in periods of unexpectedly hot weather." Nando's marinades are one of the winners in this category, with sales climbing to 11.2% share [ACNielsen] in the last year driven by flavour development, new distribution and growth of its restaurants, which have helped brand recognition. Another rising star is newcomer Ainsley Harriott from MH Foods which, despite listings in only Tesco and Sainsbury, grabbed 11.4% share of the marinade sector last year, according to Nando's report. The range, which comprises five marinades and sauces in tubs, has been such a success, that three flavours have been carried throughout the winter, says MH Foods. The company has secured wider distribution for the range this season, is supporting it with an advertising and marketing campaign and is introducing a new traditional barbecue sauce which, it says, has been well received by the trade. Newman's Own, whose marinade share is small [6.1% ­ Nando's/ACNielsen] but climbing steadily, says the trend is towards stronger more authentic tasting products. It has responded by introducing two new flavours, mustard with honey and Creole, and upgrading its Sticky BBQ and Creamy Cajun varieties. A host of celebratory events are planned this year to mark the brand's 20th anniversary, says marketing manager Alison Williamson. The main casualty is the Lea and Perrins brand whose leading market position has been eroded by the rise of the new marinade brands. The 21.6% share in 1998 of its 5-Minute Marinade fell to 19% last year, while Baste and Grill has dropped to less than 1% share [Nando's/ACNielsen]. On a more positive note, Kikkoman reports a surge of interest in its Teriyaki Marinade following widespread media exposure last year and around Chinese New Year. It is looking to make it a permanent feature on the barbecue fixture. Product group manager Hugh Evans, of distributor Jenks, says Teriyaki's subtle flavour goes well with fish, especially salmon, on the barbecue, as well as with meat and vegetables. "It's an authentic Japanese grilling product. We plan a variety of activity across the trade this year, including promotion on the barbecue fixture in the multiples, and recipe leaflets," says Evans. Jenks also distributes Bick's, market leader in the relish sector which is worth £7.5m in the major multiples and co-op's [Bick's/ACNielsen 52 w/e 23 Sept 2001]. Evans says Bick's is the fastest growing relish brand, up nearly 17% in the last year [ACNielsen MAT September 2001] driven primarily by new distribution, innovative pack formats and range additions. "Relishes are a key barbecue accompaniment, with around 70% of our annual sales occuring during the season," says Evans. This year Bick's wants to tempt even more consumers to buy its products by launching World Collection, a premium range of six relishes, salsas and chutneys based on recipes from five continents. "In consumer research they were well received, especially unusual flavours like African style Black Eyed Bean Relish, meeting consumer demand for quality international accompaniments. As far as the brand is concerned, they fit well alongside our Classic North American range," adds Evans. The price point is £1.35 for a 215g jar and during the season they will be promoted with multibuy and money off offers. Taylor's Speciality Foods confirms the rising demand for premium relishes, having gained new distribution this year with Asda and an increased listing with Safeway for its T range of relishes, sauces and chutney. Strong sales are forecast by BMI's George for the company's Bar-B-Bar range of sauces, marinades, rubs, gourmet salsas and dressings. "In our first year ­ 2000 ­ Bar-B-Bar was worth just under £1m in retail sales. This year we are confident of hitting £5m," says George. New this season are Soy Molasses & Balsamic Glaze & Marinade, which George says is superb on shark, swordfish, tuna and other robust fish, with listings secured in the major multiples. "We also have a new grill oil containing mesquite and herbs which helps stop meat and fish sticking to the barbecue, four new herb and spice rubs, two fruity mustards in exotic flavours such as raspberry, ginger honey & lime and green olive, black bean, roasted sesame and lemon, plus a salsa made from roasted pepper and sundried grape," says George. Meanwhile, G. Costa has added Grill & Glaze ­ a barbecue sauce and marinade in one ­ to its French's Mustard range and given the mustard brand a makeover. A sweet onion flavour is also being introduced. In the independent sector, The Tracklement Co has carved a niche for its premium mustards which now number 13, plus its ketchups and relishes. It's website has an ordering facility and will shortly include a store locator so customers can find their nearest independent stockist. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}