reds bbq sauce

Top launch: Red’s True BBQ Sauce - All About Food

Americana is so hot right now. So is Red’s. Since July, devotees of the Red’s True Barbecue chain of restaurants have been able to ‘mop, slop and slather’ with these five barbecue sauces in Unholy, Kansas City BBQ, South Carolina Mustard BBQ, Devil Wing BBQ and Judas Ketchup variants (rsp:£2/300g). Initially launched into Asda alongside a range of rubs, three of the sauces recently gained a nationwide Sainsbury’s listing. All About Food says results have been red hot.

Table sauces are on the slide. The sector has put nearly £12m less through the tills in the past year, a 2.2% decline; condiments & pickles are also in bad shape, having lost 5.6%. Volumes are down in both sectors. Why? 

The weather hasn’t helped, says Sam Bidgood, brand manager at Encona owner Grace Foods UK, pointing to the poor summer and its impact on the barbecue season, a key sales opportunity for the sector. There’s something more fundamental going on, however.

“We’ve seen a rise in retailers taking space away from traditional sauces such as ketchup and mayonnaise, and increasing space for non-conventional table sauces,” he says, in explanation of the Encona brand’s solid growth. Its bestselling West Indian Hot Pepper Sauce is up 7.7% to £3.4m.

It’s a sector that’s ripe for rationalisation, contend some. In October, Tesco confirmed via Twitter that it had discontinued “a large amount of Heinz products” including Heinz Mayonnaise, down 29.9% on volumes down 33.1%. Things are going to get worse for the line: our data period ends in October.

Nevertheless, combined sales of Heinz’s biggest table sauce products, which are worth £183.9m or about a third of total category sales, are in growth, thanks primarily to the development of spicier, non-traditional products. Heinz Classic BBQ Sauce, for example, is up 11.8% on volumes up 9%. That’s not all, says Chris Isaac, Heinz sauces brand manager, pointing to growth in chilli sauce.

“UK consumer spend on hot sauce has increased to £35.5m,” says Isaac. “The Heinz chilli sauces range has seen great success. Heinz reacted to demand with the launch of Jalapeño Chilli Ketchup in February.”

Branston, which has dropped 4.6% in value, joined in by launching a Sweet Chilli Pickle in September. Meanwhile, Colman’s introduced its Mild Mustard in July. As in foodservice, Americana is a key trend, tapped by Baxters Food Group with its Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Barbecue Glaze.

Health is also a consideration. Isaac says Heinz Tomato Ketchup 50% Less Sugar has secured 3.7% value share of ketchup sales since launch in September 2014, exceeding expectations. Nielsen puts its value at £5.7m. Standard Heinz Ketchup is down 2% in value.

But it’s a different story when it comes to low-fat lines. “Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise’s slight decline is within the context of the entire light mayonnaise category’s decline,” says Hellmann’s senior brand manager Kyrie Merryman. “We see interest in products with a ‘healthy’ or ‘natural’ proposition rising.”

In response, Hellman’s launched a mayo with olive oil in April, backed by a £5m campaign. So far it’s racked up £858,000.

TOP 10 Table sauces SALES
        £m change (£m) change (%)
Total volume change: –2.8% Total Category 537.4 –11.9 –2.2
      Total Own Label 91.2 –6.5 –6.7
1 1 Heinz Tomato Ketchup The Kraft Heinz Co 117.9 –2.7 –2.2
2 2 Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise Unilever 61.6 1.2 2
3 3 Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise Unilever 30.8 –0.6 –1.8
4 4 HP Brown Sauce The Kraft Heinz Co 28.6 0.3 1.2
5 5 Heinz Salad Cream The Kraft Heinz Co 26.5 4 17.7
6 6 Heinz Light Salad Cream The Kraft Heinz Co 15.5 –3.4 –17.9
7 7 Lea & Perrins The Kraft Heinz Co 11.8 0.4 3.7
8 30 Heinz 50% Less Sugar Ketchup The Kraft Heinz Co 5.7 5.6 3,508.20
9 12 Heinz Classic BBQ Sauce The Kraft Heinz Co 5.1 0.5 11.8
10 9 HP Barbecue Sauce The Kraft Heinz Co 4.9 –0.6 –10.7
TOP 5 Condiments & pickles SALES
        £m change (£m) change (%)
Total volume change: –3.1% Total Category 141.2 –8.4 –5.6
      Total Own Label 51.3 –2.3 –4.3
1 1 Branston Mizkan 26.4 –1.3 –4.6
2 2 Colman’s Unilever 22.1 –1.0 –4.1
3 3 Sharwood’s Premier Foods 6.9 –2.0 –22.3
4 4 Ocean Spray Jenks 5 0 1
5 6 Patak’s ABF 3.4 0.1 3.4