“Although chilled cooking sauces are an established part of the market, their use continues to lag behind that of ambient ones. While the price premium of chilled sauces is curbing uptake, lack of variety in the segment, heavily geared towards pasta sauces, also seems to play a role. Exploring other cuisines could bolster sales given strong demand among cooking sauce buyers/users.”
– Colette Warren, Food and Drink Analyst
This report looks at the following areas:
- Scratch-cooking continues to pose a threat to cooking sauces
- Interest in wider ranges in chilled sauces
- Reliance on established occasions hamper stocks
Ambient wet cooking sauces continue to dominate the market, however, the sales decline witnessed in 2013 is estimated to continue in 2014. The lacklustre performance of the pasta market and the warm weather seen through much of 2014 have likely curbed demand.
The market faces intense competition from scratch cooking. A quarter of people cook sauces from scratch at least once a week, the interest fuelled by perceptions of scratch-cooked sauces as better for you and tastier than shop-bought ones. It remains to be seen whether the recipe base products entering the market in 2014 can win over scratch cooks with their proposition of convenience, transparency and scope to tailor the dish.
While stocks and gravy remain menu staples, only a minority of users use stocks in multiple ways. Given Brits’ love of variety and newness on their menus, a reliance on traditional uses puts the segment in a potentially risky position. The interest among younger consumers in stocks made for ethnic dishes and gravies made for foods other than roasts or sausages suggests scope for NPD (New Product Development) to support usage.
Cooking sauces are defined as sauces used during the preparation of food and as those used in the kitchen, rather than at the table. They fall into three categories:
- Cook-in sauces (including cooking pastes) are added to ingredients at an early stage of cooking, such as chilli con carne or Bolognese. Stir-fry sauces and stir-fry pastes are a style of cook-in sauce primarily intended for use with a wok or quick frying style of cooking.
- Pour-over sauces are added to the meal just before the end of cooking, or poured over the top just before serving, such as parsley sauce, some pasta sauces and pesto sauce.
- Oven-bake sauces are added to the other ingredients part way through cooking, before the dish is placed in the oven.
The cooking and pasta sauce market may also be divided into wet sauces and dry sauces:
- Wet sauces are packaged in jars, cans, pouches or cartons and may be ambient or chilled.
- Dry sauces come in packets or cartons and require the addition of water or other liquid to rehydrate them before use.
Stocks and bouillons include stock cubes, pastes and ready-to-use ambient and chilled products.
- Table sauces such as tomato ketchup, apple sauce and cranberry sauce (for the purposes of this report, soy sauce is treated as a table sauce and is excluded from the report)
- Salad dressings such as salad cream and mayonnaise
- Dips, including salsa dip
- Sauce bases such as passata and concentrates such as tomato purée
- Sales of cooking sauces, pasta sauces, stocks and gravy through foodservice outlets.