During a year of staying at home, we’ve seen home cooks rediscovering their love for British table classics.

The demand for kitchen staples, such as sauces and condiments, which can be used to bring big, bold flavours to home-cooked meals, has soared.

“Colman’s is a great example of how demand for favourites has grown, with shoppers wanting brands that evoke a sense of comfort and familiarity,” comments Fikerte Woldegiorgis, Foods Marketing Director, Unilever UK&I. Alongside this, we can see that consumers are increasingly looking for locally sourced produce, made with British ingredients. Colman’s, which has been part of the pantry since 1814 in one form or another and consistently uses local ingredients such as mustard and mint from Norfolk and apples from Wisbech, is perfectly placed to meet those needs. The proof point is in the fact that in 2020 the brand saw double-digit growth.” Mayonnaise is the biggest category within dressings ahead of ketchup, salad cream, and brown sauce (Nielsen). Within that, Hellmann’s is the market leader in the mayonnaise category with a 51.2% market share (Nielsen).

Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo has become the biggest NPD in the Mayo category and also the nation’s favourite vegan mayo brand with a 57.4% market share, growing ahead of the category (Nielsen).

Mayonnaise maintained its leading status in sauces and condiments, featuring heavily on Brits’ shopping lists even more in 2020 and into 2021, as we worked at home more and more.

Its versatility means it is the perfect accompaniment to a variety of dishes from lunchtime sandwiches to barbecued burgers, and everything in between, resulting in the category growing by 18.6% over the past year (Nielsen). Hellmann’s, which is a key driver behind the category growth, actually grew ahead this at 21.2% (Nielsen) and maintained a consistent level of stock throughout the pandemic.

“Innovation, alongside tried and tested classics, keeps consumers interested in the category and coming back for more, which is why we have continued to experiment and cater to what shoppers are telling us they want, bringing first-to-market products direct to the hands of our consumers,” says Woldegiorgis.

Unilever’s recent launches, Hellmann’s Sour Cream & Chive and Hellmann’s Cheese Flavour Variety Sauces, tap into a variety of occasions from big nights in, to BBQs, with UK consumer research revealing that these new flavours are top performers in terms of appeal (Nielsen).

“It’s not just the flavour we’ve worked on, it’s our visual identity too,” adds Woldegiorgis. “By updating our pack designs across our variety sauce range, we now have a 75% probability of being noticed in the first 3-5 seconds, ensuring that we are even more effective in catching shoppers’ eyes when in-store.”

“Innovation for us isn’t just about launching great new products, it is about looking at ways we can make our products more sustainable and better for the planet,” Woldegiorgis continues. “We know that a quarter (25.2%) of people across the country are proactively looking for and buying packaging that is recycled, so this year, we’re proud to say that Hellmann’s became the UK’s first major brand in the category to commit to moving its full squeezy range to 100% recycled PET plastic bottles. The move will save approximately 1,480 tonnes of virgin plastic every year and means that the planet won’t pay the price for convenient packaging.”

Bing-yu Lee, General Manager, Kikkoman UK, comments: “Japanese foods have become increasingly popular especially with the opening of Japanese style restaurants as well as the introduction of sushi to our lunch repertoire. Japanese soy sauce, especially Kikkoman, is growing in popularity because its quality is unrivalled and because it is endlessly useful as both a condiment, at table and as an invaluable seasoning.”

What sets Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce apart is its natural ingredients with no additives and not least its lengthy fermentation process – this gives it its distinctive aromatic taste and umami which intensifies other flavours without over-powering. Kikkoman soy sauce is used increasingly to add a big hit of flavour to meat and vegetable-based sauces. And for winter-warming dishes it’s a quick and easy way to flavour hearty meat or vegetable dishes, soups and one-pot cooking. Chefs and consumers are also using it as an alternative to salt in cooking to heighten the flavour of fresh ingredients while reducing overall sodium levels. All Kikkoman Soy Sauces are certified vegan.

“Wholesalers need to be aware of increasing numbers of vegetarians/ vegans, those with a sensitivity to gluten, as well as those on a strict low sodium diet or who are actively choosing a low sodium diet as a lifestyle choice,” says Lee. “Kikkoman which has been at the forefront of NPD for some years says consumers shouldn’t have to lose out on flavour or lower grade ingredients because of a wheat intolerance.”

Just like the original Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce, its Tamari Gluten-Free variant is also naturally brewed and uses natural ingredients only, offering a premium soy sauce with the same rich, savoury taste and flavour.

Kikkoman Less Salt Soy Sauces is widely available and uses a special fermentation process which keeps all the unique flavour and aroma of Kikkoman’s original naturally brewed soy sauce but contains 43% less salt.

During the pandemic we have witnessed a shift in consumer behaviour towards more adventurous cooking and with that a confidence in trying new and exotic flavours. More than ever, we are embracing international cuisines with new tastes coming from different parts of Asia including Korea and Japan.

“With new cuisines comes new sauces or a greater appetite and confidence to try exotic sauces that have been with us for a while,” adds Lee. “We have fallen in love with spice so offering sauces or condiments that add a kick to what is otherwise bland food makes sense. For instance, using a good teriyaki sauce can transform the taste of any meat or vegetable dish especially if the meat is marinated in teriyaki for a few hours then cooked.”

Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce 150ml Dispenser is the best-selling SKU, accounting for over 40% of unit sales and up 14% yoy. Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce 250ml is the second-best seller up 7.7% yoy followed closely by Kikkoman Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce, up 19.8% yoy (IRI).

Kikkoman is the No 1. Soy Sauce brand, with a 32.5% value share of the Total Soy Sauce Market, up 15% on last year. Kikkoman is also the No 1 brand in Teriyaki and is extending its lead with 36.5% value share (IRI).

“The best advice is to stick with the soy sauce brands that are guaranteed to move quickly, those that have a strong growth record and where there is major support behind the brand,” Lee continues.

Kikkoman is investing heavily in above the line activity during October and November with the roll out of a hard-hitting national TV and VOD advertising campaign. In addition, come Chinese New Year there will be a major radio and digital advertising campaign as well as price promotions across the industry.

“It would be great to see wholesalers running strong promotions, ensuring brands have a big on and off-shelf presence, off-shelf displays work very well and features front of depot, especially around bit dates in the calendar such as Chinese New Year,” Lee advises. “Sales can be maximised by ensuring strong promotions are in place and brands have a big on and off-shelf presence. Where feasible run off-shelf displays and features front of depot to highlight big promotions and focus on key dates in the calendar.”

“As we ease back from lockdown, we will see purchasing patterns returning mostly to the levels seen pre covid as foodservice venues re-open and confidence,” Lee believes. “Growth will depend on several factors and not least how quickly the economy bounces back and how the industry copes post Brexit. Labour shortages across the industry remain a key issue especially within hospitality. Online ordering both retail and wholesale has increased, and we see this shift in consumer digital behaviour staying with us.”

Anne-Marie Cannon, Senior Brand Manager for Mary Berry’s Foods at the brand’s owner and distributor RH Amar, comments: “Ingredients have to work harder for their place in the kitchen cupboard, with consumers looking for product versatility and use across different occasions. The strong sales we are seeing for our Mary Berry’s Blue Cheese dressing is reflective of braver choices in the kitchen and a recognition that dressings no longer just belong on summer salads. For example, whilst our popular Blue Cheese Dressing is perfect drizzled on salads it also makes a mean dipping sauce and the perfect accompaniment to steak, and our Mango, Lime & Chilli Dressing makes a perfect marinade for chicken or fish, as well as an essential ingredient to make a delicious mango & lime cheesecake.”

Mary Berry’s sales are up 7.7% across both independent and symbol group convenience retailers.

The brand offers seven products across the premium dressings category, including traditional dressings such as Mary Berry’s Classic Salad dressing and newer varieties such as our Mary Berry’s Mango, Lime & Chilli Dressing.

Mary’s Berry’s Classic Light dressing is our best-selling line. Mary Berry’s Blue Cheese dressing is showing the strongest growth with sales up 19.1% year-on-year. This growth reflects not only more time spent entertaining at home but also consumer’s growing confidence with their store cupboard ingredients, and with it an understanding of the versatility dressings can offer. Mary Berry’s Blue Cheese dressing is equally at home on salad leaves as stirred into a winter favourite such as cauliflower cheese.

With more consumers adopting vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian diets it is no surprise to see that vegan dressings are performing well with sales up 40.1%. While Mary Berry’s serves a mainstream audience of food lovers, the range also includes vegan and vegetarian dressings – meeting the increased demand from shoppers looking for options which cater for those who are following vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian diets.

The following Mary Berry’s lines are suitable for vegans; Mary Berry’s Classic Salad Dressing, Mary Berry’s Light Salad Dressing and Mary Berry’s Mango, Lime & Chilli Dressing.

Helen Hyde, Business Unit Manager at Creative Foods, comments: “We are seeing further segmentation and distinction between different types of chillies – think ‘Ghost’, ‘Naga’ and ‘Scorpion’. Consumer understanding is ever growing, opening up opportunities for a range of flavours and heat levels.”

This is something Creative Foods anticipated and it’s why the company developed Tabasco Scorpion sauce, the hottest sauce in our range yet.

“The biggest trend we are seeing on foodservice menus is vegan,” says Hyde. “Vegan food in the out of home sector has become much more exciting in the last few years and this fast-paced trend is set to continue. All Tabasco Brand sauces are vegan and therefore great for users who wish to add a kick or smokiness to their vegan menu offer.”

With lockdown limiting travel, consumers have been bringing more cuisines from around the world into their homes. Sauces and condiments are an easy way to add an adventurous flavour to tried and tested dishes, or to try out new recipes from around the globe. With Sriracha being very much on trend across many different dishes, and cuisines, Creative Foods is seeing continued growth for its Tabasco Brand Sriracha sauce.

Tabasco Brand sauces and pizza are a perfect fit, so the brand is sponsoring the National Pizza Awards in November. Marketing efforts are focused on demonstrating how Tabasco sauces can easily add flavour and seasoning to pizzas.

“One of the post-Covid trends we are seeing in the market is increased demand for portion packs,” adds Hyde. “Firstly because of the growth in takeaway and delivery menus, and secondly because they represent a more hygienic front of house option at dine-in establishments.”

Mars Food UK has launched Dolmio 7 Vegetables Pasta Sauce, providing consumers with three veg-packed recipes.

“We’re excited to launch Dolmio 7 Vegetables Pasta Sauce a jar full of seven different varieties of delicious veg, designed to help the whole family pack more flavour, variety and vegetables into their diet,” comments Giulia Somma, Marketing Manager Mars Food. “Our ambition is to help more families enjoy drama-free dinnertimes together by providing healthy products which are quick to prepare and, of course, delicious. At the start of 2021, Mars Food committed to deliver 5.5 billion healthy meals globally by 2025 – including adding 4 billion servings of vegetables in the next 5 years across the world. Dolmio 7 Vegetables Pasta Sauce is a great example of some of the innovation we’re bringing to deliver on our goal and help the UK eat more fruit and vegetables as each serving contains two of your five a day!”

Starting from a base of well known and loved classic Italian dishes, Dolmio have packed each 350g jar of the 7 Vegetables Pasta Sauce, full of tasty, nutritious vegetables. For example, the Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable sauce is jam-packed with vegetables, including aubergine, red and yellow peppers, basil, and courgettes! With no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, this range of Italian sauces is made with only wholesome ingredients. What’s more, each serving contains two of your five a day.

Dolmio 7 Vegetables will be available in three recipes; Mediterranean Roasted Veg, Sun Ripened Tomato & Basil, and Sun Ripened Tomato & Chilli at a RRP of £1.97.

 

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