Why are UK shoppers buying more cooking sauces in 2023?

Cooking sauces and spices benefiting from Brits’ having less time in the kitchen following office returns

As home cooking enjoys a resurgence, retailers are vying for a seat at the nation’s dinner tables. Take Asda, which in August unveiled its Cook By Asda lineup.

The 132-strong ingredients range spans more than 10 world cuisines, from Indian and Japanese to North African and American. Marking Asda’s first foray into an own label ingredients range, it was one of a number of notable home cooking launches in the mults.

Holland & Barrett added own label pasta sauces in September, as part of the biggest overhaul of its food offer in a decade.

The following month, Ocado expanded its branded Korean range with 50 new products, including Bibigo Bulgogi Marinade Spicy and AJR Gochujang, a hot red pepper paste.

New spices add heat to category sales

Brands have also given home cooking a spicy kick. Oxo, for instance, added Jamaican Jerk and Chinese 5 Spice marinades in June, followed in August by Stock Pots Aromatic Asian Stock with Lemongrass.

“The east Asian meal market has huge consumer appeal,” says Mark Alldred, marketing director for flavours & seasonings at Oxo owner Premier Foods.

There seems less demand, however, for the likes of Italian and Indian cuisine. Leading duo Dolmio and Loyd Grossman have suffered volume falls of 12.2% and 15.7% respectively.

In a bid to reignite shoppers’ interest, June saw the launch of two Loyd Grossman stir-in sauces, Tomato & Mascarpone and Sundried Tomato & Basil, to “tap demand for premiumisation at home”.

Cooking sauces volume decline slowed

Olive oil giant Filippo Berio has a similar ambition. The value of its nascent cooking sauces offer has grown 224.6%, after the January addition of pasta sauces that are more than twice the average price per kilo of Dolmio (see Top Launch, below).

It may help that Filippo Berio is a new player to the market. After all, the top 10 brands in the category all saw volume declines. Together, they sold nearly 10 million fewer kilos.

Instead, the cooking sauce sector – whose volume decline has slowed with the rise of cooking at home – has been powered by smaller brands and own label.

Looks like the big brands will have to work hard to keep their position.

Top Launch 2023

Filippo Berio Pasta Sauce | Salov


Filippo Berio has been a name in olive oil for nearly 200 years. It’s now establishing itself in cooking sauces with the January launch of its four-strong pasta sauce range, which scooped three Grocer New Product Awards. Coming on the heels of last year’s hit Pesto lineup, the posh sauces comprise Basil, Arrabbiata, Grilled Vegetable and Olive (rsp: £2.89/340g). “We decided to create a range of authentic pasta sauces that taste homemade,” says Filippo Berio UK CEO Walter Zanre.

Face off: Top Products Survey 2023 pits brands vs own-label