The Grocer’s 2017 Top Products Survey, THE definitive guide to the current state of the UK’s grocery industry

In the year sales of mayo overtook ketchup for the first time, there have been big changes at the edge of the nation’s dinner plates.

Heinz’s Seriously Good Mayonnaise - last year’s top launch - has jumped from 10 to six in our ranking with value sales more than tripling to £15.4m. At the same time international brand Nando’s mayonnaise - or ‘perinaise’ - has leapt from 49 to 25 in our ranking with value sales up from £426k to £2.3m.

But that’s not to say ketchup is in danger of being pushed to the back of the cupboard.Category leader Heinz Ketchup may have lost £4.8m in sales in the last year but the brand is still worth almost double that of the nation’s second bestselling sauce brand, Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise, suggesting we’re not falling out of love with the red stuff altogether.

“Heinz Tomato Ketchup is the bestselling sauce and we’re working hard to maintain the relevance of ketchup,” says Rhodri Williams, marketing lead at Heinz Sauces. “It is a brand that UK consumers know and have a strong resonance with, with 84% stating Heinz Ketchup is a brand their families love.”

Ketchup simply needs to shape up. Heinz is working hard to maintain its relevance with the January launch of a 50% less sugar & salt variant, which goes straight into our ranking at number 10 with sales of £7.2m since launch.

“Kraft Heinz’s 50% less sugar & salt ketchup is on trend in the macro environment with the attempt to limit the nation’s sugar and salt consumption,” says Nielsen senior client manager Hannah Chapman. “The product has also been incremental, encouraging new shoppers to buy tomato ketchup.”

Also incremental to the category is this year’s top launch (see below): Hellmann’s tomato ketchup sweetened with honey. “Tomato Ketchup Sweetened with Honey is the first ketchup on the market to be solely sweetened by honey,” says Unilever’s Merryman. “We’re continuously reviewing the needs of consumers, and as such have an innovation roadmap to meet these needs.”

But the fact remains that shoppers are moving away from foods typically associated with ketchup and mayonnaise. Total category sales of table sauces are up just 0.2% and volumes are down 1.3%, with NPD accounting for just £9.7m in sales in the past year.

“Discounters and bargain stores continue to be an issue for brands,” says Chapman. “There’s a lot of switching to discounter own label and also to branded products in bargain stores. It is essential for manufacturers to differentiate offerings between the mults and discount channels to keep shoppers.”

In other words, if brands are to maintain their place at the edge of the nation’s plates, they need to step up the innovation.


hellmans ketchup with honey

Hellmann’s Ketchup with Honey by Unilever

With sales of mayonnaise overtaking ketchup for the first time, does honey have what it takes to entice us back to the red stuff? Unilever hopes so with the April launch of this ketchup sweetened with honey, aimed at shoppers looking for healthy, sustainably produced products. With 30% less sugar and 36% more tomatoes, the launch of Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened with Honey (rsp: £1.89/430ml) is being supported by a £9m marketing campaign including TV advertising.

Related files/tables

The Grocer Top Products Survey 2017: Up!