Table Sauce Flavors Diverge into Traditional and Ethnic

From tangy Thai gourmet to traditional ketchup, premium was the key to the high number of table sauces launched worldwide in the second quarter of 2007, according to market research firm Mintel. Premium positionings are diverging into polar opposites of exotic and traditional, while maintaining claims of superior quality ingredients, distinctive recipes and expert processing methods. Manufacturers are providing vivid and elegant product descriptions. For example, one new premium soy sauce claimed to be made with more soybeans to achieve a richer, smoother and more complex taste. A number of products with unusual flavor combinations were also introduced.

Used more frequently by an increasing number of “foodies,” table sauces are an easy way for consumers of all skill levels to add sophisticated flavor and flair to dishes made at home. The recent resurgence of consumer interest in food and cooking has inspired an abundance of premium-positioned products, as consumers trade up to higher-quality foods. Economic prosperity has contributed to the growing perception of gourmet food as part of a fashionable lifestyle, and the popularity of food-related television, magazines, books and events exemplifies the trend.


Traditional and homemade claims are widespread, linking products to cooking expertise, heritage and authenticity. In today’s technology-driven world, consumers are feeling more nostalgic about traditional and homemade foods. New products have been promoted as traditional in terms of taste or processing method, including several that claimed to be handmade.

Mintel Global New Products Database notes a number of new products illustrating this trend. In Brazil, Jordely Comércio de Gêneros Alimentícios released Traditional Ketchup Sauce. In Mexico, Charbonneaux-Brabant released an Old-Fashioned Mustard. Also in Mexico, Michemaya launched a 100% homemade Michelada Concentrate of lemon juice and habanero pepper. In China, Xushi Soy Sauce is made using a process inherited from the Xu family 300 years ago.

Ethnic and Exotic

On the opposite end of the spectrum, growth in immigration and international travel has spurred increasing consumer interest in ethnic and exotic food products. Flavors from foreign countries are now widely available in both restaurants and retail, significantly influencing eating habits worldwide.

A myriad of new products claim to have ethnically-inspired recipes. A Taste of Africa table sauce range was launched in Germany. Another new product claimed to be made from a traditional recipe from the Canary Islands. One new product claimed to be based on a South American pampas recipe and another based on Argentinean chimichurri sauce. A number of Asian sauces were made available, including a Japanese-style soy sauce flavored with mushroom, bonito and kelp. In Russia, an ethnically-inspired range of four ketchups was launched in Brazilian, Chilean, Bulgarian and Mexican varieties. In the United States, a spiced chutney claims to be from the foothills of Kashmir.

Several manufacturers launched exotic product ranges with unusual flavor combinations, including one from Maille that included Strawberry and Bluebonnet; Orange Blossom and Cumin; Poppy Flower and Blue Poppy Seed; and Peach and Chili. Olio and Spices also introduced a new innovative range, with combinations such as Pomegranate Teriyaki, Dates Molasses Teriyaki, Lemon and Mint Chili, Orange Chili and Barbecue Fig.

The Future

Mintel believes premium products will remain popular, with more manufacturers using regional sources and other provenance claims. Seasonal fruits and vegetables may inspire an increase in limited-edition products. Ethnic, traditional and handmade claims will remain pervasive, possibly tied to increased ethical claims and fair-trade ingredients.

The Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. For additional information regarding GNPD, visit or call Mintel International at 1-312-932-0600.

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