U.S. Trends in Condiments, Sauces, & Dressings: Understanding consumer wants and usage when dining out and at retail, plus a look at how foodservice operators buy and menu

Dec 2018| MDK011A| Datassential

Report Highlights

Consumers love a wide variety of condiments – flavor profiles as disparate as ketchup, maple syrup, salsa, sour cream, and soy sauce are among the top 15% of most loved foods, beverages, and brands overall.

Ketchup tops the list of condiments that consumers use most frequently, but only by a small margin. Mayo, mustard, and jam/jelly are consumed nearly as often; despite sriracha’s rapid rise on menus, only one in five consumers use it weekly and one in 10 once a month.

Honey as well as spicy condiments like sriracha were most likely to have seen increased consumption in the past year, although usage for most remained unchanged. Condiments with limited applications, like dessert sauce, tartar sauce, and cheese sauce, were among the few that were eaten less by more than 10 percent of consumers.

As with most foods in general, condiments are consumed more often at home than away, although at least one-third of consumers say they have them equally at both.

Ketchup, mustard, and mayo are near-universal offerings among all operators, while BBQ sauce, hot sauce, and sour cream are menued by at least two-thirds.

Red pasta is the sauce most commonly menued by operators, while other top offerings include wing sauce and gravy; global sauces have limited reach. As with condiments, on-site operators are significantly more likely to offer a wide variety of sauces, especially for cafeteria favorites like pizza/pasta sauces and Asian varieties, which are common on stir fries.

Ranch is by far the most menued dressing by operators (likely boosted by its use as a dip), while Italian, vinaigrette, and Caesar are offered by at least two-thirds. Retailers are less likely to offer a number of varieties; c-stores could be a missed opportunity.

What’s your main squeeze? Though classic condiments like ketchup and mayo as well as dressings like caesar still reign supreme in their realms, ranch is finding its way onto every part of the menu and spicy global sauces like sriracha and gochujang are becoming household names. As American palates are changing and more varieties are becoming available, consumers and operators are reaching for a more varied group of sauces instead of the old standbys. Find out more with fact-based, actionable insights into the world of condiments, sauces, & dressings.

Trending Flavors on Every Part of the Menu
Learn which flavor inclusions are growing in ketchup, mustard, mayo, bbq sauce, and more. Pinpoint top and growing condiments, sauces, & dressings all over the menu, including sandwiches, burgers, salads, pizza, wings, pasta, burritos/tacos, and egg dishes.

Impact of Premium Descriptors
Understand how clean label impacts purchasing for both consumers and operators. Discover where other premium attributes (such as organic, local brands, and premium ingredients) are worth a premium to consumers and operators.

Consumers & Operator Purchasing & Applications
Discover what factors lead consumers and operators to purchase one brand over another, and how that differs across condiments, sauces, & dressings. Learn about the traditional and less typical ways that consumers and operators are using them. See how consumer behavior varies by generation, gender, and geographic location.

Operator Perspectives BOH & FOH
Learn about operator approaches to using condiments, sauces, and dressings in the back of the house and presenting them in the front of the house. Discover their key pain points related to packaging, sauces BOH, sauces FOH, and more.

Approach to Signature Sauces
Find out which signature sauces consumers are going out of their way for. Learn how operators approach signature sauces.

Datassential, a Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm, brings clients real-world information on foodservice and consumer packaged goods in the U.S. and around the world. The company’s services, including its extensive MenuTrends database, provide in-depth reporting on trends in menu offerings, flavor profiles, ingredients and preparations. Datassential helps operators, retailers, and suppliers understand and capitalize on these important trends.

Datassential makes the food industry smarter. We provide trend software, predictive analytics, and consumer insights that help manufacturers, food retailers, and chain restaurants innovate and sell more intelligently.

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