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CONDIMENTS & SAUCES

Category Spotlight
Meal Enhancers
image of a ketchup

Condiments and sauces elevate the meal experience, and suppliers are creating new approaches to product offerings to meet shopper needs

Condiments and sauces fit well with current consumer needs – permissible indulgence and the desire for variety and exploration at lower price points.

image of a Kelly Fleming
Kelly Fleming

The seemingly contradictory needs mean consumers today “don’t fit into neat segments,” says Kelly Fleming, chief marketing officer for Kraft Heinz Canada.

“They still want flavour excitement but at a lower price and in smaller formats. Consumers, especially Gen Z and millennials, tend to splurge and gravitate towards the experiential; yet at the same time, they’re looking to save money so they’re not frequenting restaurants as often, and sauces, in particular, lend themselves well to this trend.”

One of the fastest-growing segments in the category is hot sauce, says Valda Coryat, North American vice president of marketing for McCormick & Co.

image of a Valda Coryat
Valda Coryat

“We’re seeing increased interest in heat from Canadian consumers. Heat is a complex and multi-sensorial experience that serves as an expression of cultural identity. Consumers are looking for hot and spicy condiments that can elevate a wide variety of foods and eating occasions. Frank’s RedHot just expanded its offerings with a new product line that addresses this consumer interest: Squeeze Sauces.”

Whether it’s condiments or sauces, heat is playing a big role in new product offerings, says Fleming, with many new innovations featuring playful flavour twists.

“Without a doubt, taste is king, and we have had a lot of fun with mashups. For instance, sweet heat is coming into play as well as a lot of street food culture, and this has inspired a lot of the flavour adventures we’ve introduced. Flavours like spicy agave, raspberry wasabi mustard, curry and pineapple ketchup, and this year, we have pickled ketchup; it’s a thick classic ketchup with a punch of pickled flavour for a fresh, tangy taste experience.”

DIVERSIFYING FLAVOURS FOR DIVERSE TASTES

Canada’s diverse multicultural population continues to influence flavour profiles, say both Fleming and Coryat.

“Spicy flavour trends are not going away and we’re seeing interesting blends with core flavours,” says Fleming. “And unique to sauces, we’re seeing a blending of the familiar with the new.”

Coryat says there’s a “growing interest in versatile, multipurpose mild to hot and spicy condiments in formats that can be applied to any cuisine. Just recently, the Cholula brand of Mexican hot sauce debuted a new line of taco seasonings and salsas made with Mexican chiles, herbs and spices to deliver authentic Mexican flavours.”

THE PANDEMIC EFFECT

The higher-frequency eating-at-home movement that began during the pandemic continues, with consumers becoming even more creative in the kitchen.

“We continue to see people not only enjoy eating at home but furthering their exploration of what they want to try cooking,” says Coryat. Consumers want innovative products that let them experiment and get creative with flavour at home without feeling like they’re missing out on experiences at restaurants.”

The focus on health and wellness is also playing a bigger role in condiments and sauces, adds Fleming

“It’s phenomenal to see the rise of functional benefits in foods. There is growing recognition of the natural benefits of key ingredients and what they can provide for those seeking health benefits, such as no or low sugar and sodium in their products.”

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