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UK Cooking Sauces and Pasta Sauces market report

Key points included

  • Elevating convenience will help increase usage frequency
  • Meat-free trend an opportunity for cooking/pasta sauces
  • Authenticity a good focus for adding value in cooking sauces

Covered in this report

After a long period of declining sales, cooking sauces bounced back in 2019, with sales estimated to increase by 4.5% to £815 million. Strong demand for convenience as well as interest in world cuisines put cooking and pasta sauces in a good position to consolidate 2019’s return to growth.


Convenience is a major driver of usage of cooking sauces, but brands need their products to appeal beyond being an emergency meal solution to increase usage frequency. Convenience needs to be elevated through an emphasis on being a short cut for hard-to-make dishes, especially those from ethnic cuisines, and suggestions on adding extra ingredients to shop-bought sauces

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Richard Caines, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Cooking/pasta sauces are only used as an emergency meal solution by half of users, but need to appeal beyond this. To increase usage, brands need to emphasise being a short cut for sauces hard to make at home, offer more variety in ethnic sauces, and promote healthiness, naturalness and authenticity. The meat-free meal trend also represents an opportunity for cooking sauces Richard Caines
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
        • Excluded from this Report:
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Turnaround in fortunes for cooking sauces
                • Cooking sauces well placed to increase sales
                  • Figure 1: Forecast of UK retail value sales of cooking and pasta sauces, 2014-24
                • All segments of ambient and chilled sauces see growth
                  • Companies and brands
                    • Mixed fortunes for brands in cooking sauces
                      • Figure 2: Leading brands’ value shares in the UK retail ambient cooking and pasta sauces market, 2018/19*
                    • No added sugar a bigger focus for healthier recipes in 2019
                      • Natural ingredients claims in a good position to appeal
                        • The consumer
                          • Widespread usage of shop-bought cooking/pasta sauces
                            • Figure 3: Frequency of using different types of cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                          • Younger bias to usage of cooking/pasta sauces
                            • Low price and favourite brand are biggest choice factors
                              • Plenty of space for more healthier sauces
                                • Figure 4: Most important factors when buying cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                              • Regional recipes help add more variety to product offer
                                • Cooking/pasta sauces cater for different convenience needs
                                  • Figure 5: Behaviours and preferences relating to cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                                • Focus on naturalness will help sales of cooking sauces
                                  • A third of users are interested in using with plant-based meals
                                    • Figure 6: Interest in different product attributes in cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                                  • Consumers want to recreate the restaurant experience
                                    • Premium own-label a threat to brands in cooking/pasta sauces
                                      • Figure 7: Attitudes towards cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                                    • What we think
                                    • Issues and Insights

                                      • Elevating convenience will help increase usage frequency
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Meat-free trend an opportunity for cooking/pasta sauces
                                              • The facts
                                                • The implications
                                                  • Authenticity a good focus for adding value in cooking sauces
                                                    • The facts
                                                      • The implications
                                                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Turnaround in fortunes for cooking sauces
                                                          • Cooking sauces well placed to increase sales
                                                            • All segments of ambient and chilled sauces see growth
                                                              • Strong demand for speed/convenience in cooking
                                                                • Need to position cooking sauces as scratch cooking
                                                                  • World cuisines a big driver of sales of cooking sauces
                                                                    • Pasta, rice and noodles are key accompaniments
                                                                      • Cooking sauces must respond to strong interest in healthy eating
                                                                        • Cooking sauces need to respond to meat-reduction trend
                                                                          • Decline projected in some core younger user groups
                                                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                            • Turnaround in fortunes of cooking sauces in 2019
                                                                              • Figure 8: UK retail value sales of cooking and pasta sauces, 2014-24
                                                                            • Cooking sauces well placed to increase sales
                                                                              • Figure 9: Forecast of UK retail value sales of cooking and pasta sauces, 2014-24
                                                                            • Forecast methodology
                                                                            • Market Segmentation

                                                                              • All segments of ambient and chilled sauces see growth
                                                                                • Figure 10: UK retail sales of cooking/pasta sauces, by segment, 2017-19
                                                                              • Italian and oriental sauces add the most to sales
                                                                                • Figure 11: UK retail sales of ambient wet and dry cooking and pasta sauces, by cuisine, 2016-18
                                                                            • Market Drivers

                                                                              • Strong demand for speed/convenience in cooking
                                                                                • Need to position cooking sauces as scratch cooking
                                                                                  • World cuisines a big driver of sales of cooking sauces
                                                                                    • Pasta, rice and noodles are key accompaniments
                                                                                      • Cooking sauces need to respond to meat-reduction trend
                                                                                        • Have Britons really moved so far from the “meat and two veg” template?
                                                                                          • Cooking sauces must respond to strong interest in healthy eating
                                                                                            • Calorie reduction target for cooking sauces and pastes
                                                                                              • Decline projected in some core younger user groups
                                                                                                • Figure 12: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2014-24
                                                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                              • Mixed fortunes for brands in cooking sauces
                                                                                                • Own-label dominates in growing chilled sauces segment
                                                                                                  • No added sugar a bigger focus for healthier recipes in 2019
                                                                                                    • Significant interest in more vegetables in cooking/pasta sauces
                                                                                                      • Natural ingredients claims in a good position to appeal
                                                                                                        • Brands should make more of time-saving claims
                                                                                                          • Focus on authentic recipes one way to win over shoppers
                                                                                                            • Emerging cuisines still slow to take off in cooking sauces
                                                                                                              • Above-the-line advertising continues to decline
                                                                                                              • Market Share

                                                                                                                • Mixed fortunes for brands in cooking sauces
                                                                                                                  • Figure 13: Leading brands’ value sales and shares in the UK retail ambient cooking and pasta sauces market, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                                • Own-label dominates in growing chilled sauces segment
                                                                                                                  • Figure 14: Value sales and shares in the UK retail chilled cooking and pasta sauces market, by brands and own label, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                • No added sugar a bigger focus for healthier recipes in 2019
                                                                                                                  • Figure 15: New product launches in the UK cooking and pasta sauces market making L/N/R fat, no added sugar and L/N/R sodium claims, 2015-19
                                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Examples of new launches in cooking and pasta sauces making no added sugar and reduced sugar claims, 2018/019
                                                                                                                  • Figure 17: Examples of new launches in cooking and pasta sauces making L/N/R fat claims, 2018/019
                                                                                                                • Significant interest in more vegetables in cooking/pasta sauces
                                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Examples of new launches in cooking and pasta sauces spotlighting vegetables, 2018/19
                                                                                                                  • Natural ingredients claims in a good position to appeal
                                                                                                                    • Figure 19: New product launches in the UK cooking and pasta sauces market making claims relating to naturalness, 2015-19
                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Examples of new launches in cooking and pasta sauces, 2018/19
                                                                                                                  • Vegan claims increasing
                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: New product launches in the UK cooking and pasta sauces market making vegetarian and vegan/no animal ingredients claims, 2015-19
                                                                                                                  • Brands should make more of time-saving claims
                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: New product launches in the UK cooking and pasta sauces market making convenience claims, 2015-19
                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Examples of new launches in cooking and pasta sauces making ease of use and time/speed claims, 2019
                                                                                                                  • A focus on authentic recipes one way to win over shoppers
                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Examples of new launches in cooking and pasta sauces describing themselves as authentic, 2018/19
                                                                                                                  • Emerging cuisines still slow to take off in cooking sauces
                                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Examples of new world cuisines launches in cooking and pasta sauces, 2018/19
                                                                                                                • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                  • Above-the-line advertising continues to decline
                                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cooking sauces, 2015-19
                                                                                                                  • Mars and Unilever dominate spending
                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cooking sauces, by advertiser, 2015-19
                                                                                                                  • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                    • Widespread usage of shop-bought cooking/pasta sauces
                                                                                                                      • Younger bias to usage of cooking/pasta sauces
                                                                                                                        • Low price and favourite brand are biggest choice factors
                                                                                                                          • Plenty of space for more healthier sauces
                                                                                                                            • Regional recipes help add more variety to product offer
                                                                                                                              • Cooking/pasta sauces cater for different convenience needs
                                                                                                                                • Focus on naturalness will help sales of cooking sauces
                                                                                                                                  • A third of users are interested in using with plant-based meals
                                                                                                                                    • Consumers want to recreate the restaurant experience
                                                                                                                                      • Premium own-label a threat to brands in cooking/pasta sauces
                                                                                                                                      • Usage of Cooking/Pasta Sauces by Type

                                                                                                                                        • Widespread usage of shop-bought cooking/pasta sauces
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Types of cooking/pasta sauces used in the last three months, September 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Minority of users have sauces on the weekly menu
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Frequency of using different types of cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Younger bias to usage of cooking/pasta sauces
                                                                                                                                        • Factors Influencing Choice of Cooking/Pasta Sauces

                                                                                                                                          • Low price and favourite brand are biggest choice factors
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Most important factors when buying cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Healthier and authentic recipes also important
                                                                                                                                            • Plenty of space for more healthier sauces
                                                                                                                                              • Different elements to promoting authentic recipes
                                                                                                                                              • Cooking Sauces Behaviours and Preferences

                                                                                                                                                • Regional recipes help add more variety to product offer
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Behaviours and preferences relating to cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Cooking sauces should help build familiarity with emerging cuisines
                                                                                                                                                  • Cooking/pasta sauces cater for different convenience needs
                                                                                                                                                  • Interest in Different Product Attributes

                                                                                                                                                    • Focus on naturalness will help sales of cooking sauces
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Interest in different product attributes in cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                                                                                                                                                    • A third of users are interested in using with plant-based meals
                                                                                                                                                      • Strong demand for multipurpose sauces
                                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Cooking/Pasta Sauces

                                                                                                                                                        • Consumers want to recreate the restaurant experience
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Attitudes towards cooking/pasta sauces, September 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Premium own-label a threat to brands in cooking/pasta sauces
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                              • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of cooking and pasta sauces, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Market Share

                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Leading manufacturers’ value sales and shares in the UK retail cooking and pasta sauces market, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Top claims in new product launches in the UK retail cooking and pasta sauces market, 2015-19

                                                                                                                                                                About the report

                                                                                                                                                                This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                  What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                  Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                  Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                  New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                  Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                  What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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