The growth of the ambient sauce category last year reflects the investment brands are putting into product innovation, recipe development and marketing activity.

Italian sauces continue to account for the majority of the category and are now bought by more than two-thirds of UK households. Although sales of Mexican, Indian and Oriental sauces are showing year-on-year volume and value growth, we expect Italian to continue to lead the category because of its universal appeal.

Consumers are trading up and choosing products with perceived quality and authenticity. Brands that are responding to this are well-positioned for further growth this year.

We expect to see growth in premium sauce ingredients such as Italian passatas and canned tomatoes, which can be used as a base for people to create their own sauces. Those brands with products spanning more than one category - such as Napolina - will benefit from being able to cross-promote and leverage brand loyalty across a number of fixtures.