sauces condiments

Source: Pexels

Britain’s increasingly fiery tastes have caused some casualties elsewhere in the category

Mealtimes are hotting up. Just ask Nando’s, which has emerged as the standout table sauce brand of the past year. The piri-piri specialist has grown its sauce sales by 13.8% or £4.3m – the sector’s largest absolute gain.

Brits “really missed” Nando’s during lockdown, says Samantha Frost, category director All About Food, which makes the restaurant’s sauces. The desire to recreate the restaurant experience at home “certainly helped sales”, she adds.

Indeed, its Sweet Chilli Jam was one of the “most successful NPD in the category this year, worth more than £1.5m” says NielsenIQ grocery insight leader Stephen Bough. Overall, the brand is bringing “new, younger, family shoppers” into table sauces, he says.

Other spicy sauces are similarly cashing in. Thai Dragon, Frank’s and Heinz Sweet Chilli Sauce all enjoyed powerful value growth of 123.9%, 32.2% and 30.5% respectively.

That’s down to the growing shopper demand for  “more excitement in their table sauce choices” claims Alex Barsley, head of market strategy & planning at Blue Dragon owner AB World Foods.


These substantial gains have helped the total table sauce category hold onto the gains it made last year. Values and volumes are both up around 1%, meaning the market is now worth £668.2m. Essentially, habits from 2020 “have been locked in” notes Bough.  

Still, there have been some casualties of Britain’s increasingly fiery tastes. Bough points to a trend “away from salad cream and towards chilli”, which has seen Heinz Salad Cream’s core variant shed 3.7% of its value, while its Light and 30% Less Fat lines are both in double-digit decline.

It’s not the only traditional favourite to have struggled. Top three brands Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise and HP have all slipped into the red, losing £3.8m in total. Here, twists on the traditional have helped buoy sales. Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo, for instance, grew £2.4m – the second-largest absolute gain. Its success reflects the “shift towards people adopting a vegan or flexitarian diet” says Fikerte Woldegiorgis, foods marketing director for owner Unilever.

In condiments, meanwhile, cranberry sauce was a surprise success, despite last year’s ‘cancelled’ Christmas. Ocean Spray saw its sauce sales grow 17.6% as Covid restrictions “led to more disparate Christmases than previous years, meaning more households cooked a Christmas dinner” says brand manager Chris Marx.

As with table sauces, shoppers bought into condiment brands with heat. The likes of mustard makers Maille and French’s are up by double digits. Hot stuff.

Top Launch 2021

Belazu Ketchup | WJFG

Belazu ketchup

Source: Belazu

Belazu’s premium take on the nation’s favourite table sauce features on-trend ingredients inspired by world cuisines. Having rolled into Waitrose in April, the three-strong range comprises Tomato & Balsamic (recommended as a marinade for pork ribs), Harissa (ideal in chilli, says Belazu) and Smoked Chilli (best with a “home-made winter pie” or a “baked potato with sour cream”). Each bottle contains 800g of Mediterranean tomatoes (rsp: £2.75-£3.15/300g).


The Grocer’s Top Products Survey 2021: who’s up, who’s down – and our overview of the key trends