New product activity is heating up in the large and diverse prepared sauces market, which covers a wide range of different product types, including pasta sauces, cooking sauces, bottled and table sauces and condiments, and salad sauces and dressings. Innova Market Insights has recorded consistently rising numbers of launches globally over the past five years or so, probably reflecting the increasing variety of meals and cuisines now being discovered by consumers.
Increasing interest in foreign cuisines has been particularly significant for the cooking sauces category, which alone accounted for half of tracked global sauces launches in 2011, well ahead of bottled table sauces with over a quarter and mayonnaise and dressings with about a fifth.
Despite the strong convenience image of the sauces market, there has been ongoing interest in health in evidence. Nearly 45% of 2011 global launches recorded by Innova Market Insights feature health claims of some kind, rising to over 50% for salad sauces and dressings, compared with 45% for cooking sauces and 38% for table sauces. The sector has also taken interest in clean-label products on board, with 2011 launches featuring “natural” recipes and “no additives/preservatives” one of the key areas for product positioning, used by nearly 30% of total sector introductions.
The table and cooking sauces markets are both dominated by tomato-based products and are also seeing moves to spicier and more complex flavorings. The table sauces market has started to see more in the way of limited edition products with more unusual flavors, or to feature premium ingredients, such as balsamic vinegar, or to use a particular type of tomato. The range of barbecue sauces is also growing in many markets, with new variants typically introduced for the summer season, but all-year-round use also promoted. Increasing use of unusual ingredients has already been in evidence for 2012, including wasabi and tequila, following on from 2011 launches featuring flavorings such as raspberry vodka, bourbon whiskey, and blackberries.
The move to spicier flavors has also been in evidence in the cooking sauces market. A greater variety of pack formats, including single-serve products for smaller households, as well as sachets and pouches in place of the more traditional glass jars, has also been reported in this sector.