Sauces and condiments is a category at the heart of our ­increasing focus on new tastes, with smaller brands and ­unusual flavours now ­included in an extended testing programme that draws products from a wider spectrum of outlets, including farm shops.

The results show high levels of approval for new tastes that add flavour and interest to both ethnic and traditional meal types. They also vividly illustrate the growing north/south divide in the UK with ­regards to what consumers from ­different parts of the UK are looking for in these products.

People in the south, for ­example, are totally open to new tastes and different forms of condiment. The badge of an unknown brand is no ­barrier to acceptance and may add a layer of warm emotional values if incorporated into a non-standard design.

Northerners, however, ­remain more practical, and are more concerned that these types of products would languish at the back of the cupboard if bought.

Tracklements sweet mustard ketchup SCORE: 39 AVERAGE: 35

This sauce generated a very polarised response, with wide variations in ratings between sample groups. Most impressed were respondents with an older family and those in the south.

Crosse & Blackwell Branston tomato ketchup SCORE: 39 AVERAGE: 35

Considered comparable to Heinz, this sauce was rich and smooth. But some respondents questioned if there was enough to distinguish it from the brand leader, other than price.

Loyd Grossman mango & apricot chutney with fresh ginger SCORE: 39 AVERAGE: 35

"A good balance of flavours" and "not overpowering" was the verdict on this premium fruit chutney. Has the potential to capture a mainstream market.