Retailers can increase their profits from table and cooking sauces by tapping into the trend for hotter flavours. Asian Trader reports
Merchandising tips from Heinz Shake up your sales
• Devote enough space to best-selling brands to ensure availability.
• Use visibility of beacon brands such as Heinz and Amoy to entice customers.
• Give more space to growing segments and recipes and have a provision of different price points that offer different benefits.
• Use signage to help the shopper navigate the ambient aisle, making it easy for them to find.
Patak’s’ Jeff Hodgson on cooking sauces
Highlight your fixture
• Employ POS material to highlight key brands, promotions and segments; these help educate the consumer about the category .
• Segment highlighting can be achieved by simply colour coding the shelf edges and use of ‘bus stop’ signs show where each segment starts and finishes.
• Include appetising images of meals and include phrases such as “Easy to prepare” to reassure consumers and prompt first time users
• Simple education messages can encourage trial or add-on purchase e.g. “Just add chopped tomatoes for an authentic Indian Curry”
From classic pasta sauce and tomato ketchup to more exotic fare such as Indian and Chinese mixes, British consumers' taste for cooking and table sauces is growing.
Cooking sauces have become an essential ingredient for the majority of British consumers as everyday short cuts in their culinary pursuits.
The variety of cooking sauces has helped the category grow, including cook-in, pour-over and oven-bake products in either dry or wet formats.
Table Sauces commonly come in bottles and jars and are an easy and quick method of making virtually any dish tastier.
A trend which sees consumers demanding hotter, spicier, foods in the UK has recently been proven by research experts Mintel, who have developed a new ‘heat indexes’ measuring usage of hot peppers and other heat inducing ingredients in food retail.
Its research shows manufacturers are producing food that has on average 16 per cent more heat than in 2009, highlighting a change in Brits' tastebuds.
The message seems to be that British consumers share a bond with Marliyn Monroe – they like it hot!
Cooking sauces are popular with consumers in the UK who are seeking a convenient and flexible mealtime solution.
Products that fall into this category are table sauces and other condiments and relishes. This includes tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, vinegar and chutneys.
They add excitement to the dinner table by providing flavour, but require minimal effort. As a result, the value of the industry has increased year-on-year since 2008, according to Key Note.
They estimate that the Cooking Sauces market is presently worth around £636 million, after growing by 3.6 per cent over the course of 2011.
However, growth has fluctuated and it slowed in 2012 due to heavy promotional activity and pressure from other trends in the market; a growing number of consumers are cooking from scratch, both out of economic necessity and for pleasure.
In addition, fast-paced lifestyles have also created a demand for ready-to-eat foods that are even more convenient than cooking sauces.
Therefore the industry, which offers shortcuts when cooking, is being squeezed in the middle.
Nevertheless, household disposable incomes have fallen and consumers continue to feel the strain of the economic crisis.
In order to cope with the downturn, they are limiting their spending and are eating at home to save money (Key Note).
According to Key Note, this resulted in value and volume sales for brands growing ahead of own labels in 2012.
Nearly all consumers buy table sauces and figures from Mintel's research studies show they want to try new flavours.
Penetration of usage is extremely high, around 95 per cent, meaning almost all consumers keep a regular supply of table sauces on hand at home.
Growth is a challenge in this mature sector; volume sales slipped 10 per cent between 2007 and 2012, although value has grown by 14 per cent over the same period, to £1.1 billion.
There are several well-known brands in this sector and according to market researchers him!, about 40 per cent of shoppers think it is worth paying more for branded sauces.
As with cooking sauces, buyers of table sauces are seeking hotter, spicier tastes, leading manufacturers to focus on this for NPD, often adding more exotic, foreign variants.
Lighter options for health-conscious consumers are also now readily available, while products are increasingly available in a top-down, squeezy format to ensure consumer convenience.
Independent retailers looking to benefit from the growing consumer interest in world foods should take a closer look at the Caribbean market, which is one of the fastest growing segments in cooking sauces (IRI).
Enco Products, home to Encona Sauces, the UK’S number one hot pepper sauce brand (IRI), is the market leader of Caribbean food and drink (IRI).
“These are exciting times for Caribbean food and drink,” says Lisa Leung, Brand Manager at Enco Products.
“Category loyalists are buying more than ever before as they become more adventurous with their cooking, while new consumers are expanding their taste horizons.
The key to making the most of interest in Caribbean sauces is effective sign-posting and merchandising. Market-leading lines such as Encona Sauces will act as beacon brands as consumers now recognise these, advises Leung.
In order to guide consumers on how to use their products, Encona sauces is segmenting their range of sauces by usage occasions.
The three occasions, Dipping Sauces, Cooking Ingredients and Hot Condiments will be packaged in new colour coded trays that clearly communicate the occasion and will provide a stronger standout on shelf.
In cooking ingredients, Encona have just launched African Peri Peri Sauce, to add to its current line up of Encona Jamaican Jerk BBQ Sauce, Encona Barbados Creole Pepper Sauce and Encona Thai Chilli and Ginger Sauce.
Enco is a Grace Foods UK subsidiary, and Grace Foods has organised the UK’s first ever Caribbean Food Week, a celebration of Caribbean food and drink in the run-up to Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival, 19-25 August 2013. The event will showcase all of Enco's products.
Retailers looking to step-up sales of Caribbean ranges in store should also look at offering an entry level range of products like Tropical Sun’s hot sauces, Jerk BBQ sauce, Jerk Seasoning and Caribbean Curry Paste.
These products are versatile and are easy to use. For example, the brand's Caribbean Curry Paste can be used with meats as well as vegetables to give curry enthusiasts the chance to add a cook-in style paste to their cooking to give it a Caribbean boost.
Tropical Sun recently launched an innovative Rub Rub seasonings range which is coarser than traditional offerings and designed to add a deeper level of flavour to dishes.
Their existing range of hot sauces offer a range of hotness levels designed for a variety of heat tolerance levels and palates, including Original Hot Pepper Sauce to Peri Peri, Chilli Garlic and Rasta Sauce.
Tropical Sun has enjoyed a 20 per cent year-on-year growth and 2013 is set to mark their biggest marketing investment to date. As well as launching a raft of new products, they are planning a variety of high profile marketing initiatives that will help retailers generate sales in the Caribbean category.
Cooking sauces enable consumers, who might otherwise have been uncomfortable cooking exotic dishes, to expand their recipe portfolio with a variety of new dishes.
This trend has driven growth for new types of sauces, including Brazilian, Malaysian and Caribbean flavours, as well increased usage for classic cooking sauces such as Italian, Indian and Chinese.
Manufacturers have capitalised on this trend by investing in their brands, adding more exotic variants and producing higher quality products.
The long-established Dolmio brand holds a solid lead in the cooking and pasta sauce market.
The market leader has since early 2011 been reformulating its sauce portfolio with a 100 per cent natural ingredients claim to reassure consumers about their healthiness.
Dolmio has also offered one of the most heavily advertised brands in the market in recent years as Mars stepped up support for the brand’s 100 per cent natural ingredients reformulation.
Premier Foods' pasta sauce brand Loyd Grossman has benefited this year from a TV campaign that launched in March that was designed to highlight to consumers the vibrant flavours of his cooking sauces.
Loyd also stars as an expert judging panel on ITV’s new reality show Food Glorious Food, putting him front of mind with food loving fans.
The new TV campaign creatively communicated the vibrant flavours in Loyd Grossman sauces, with Loyd appearing at the end with the tagline ‘Get Flavour’.
Loyd Grossman sauces are worth £52.7 million (SIG) and are currently growing ahead of the category at +5.5 per cent.
Indian and Chinese cooking sauces have become staples of British mealtimes, especially as consumers forgo expensive trips to restaurants and attempt to recreate their favourite ethnic dishes at home.
The ambient Indian category has performed well over the past year and is currently worth £199 million (Nielsen).
Patak’s is the number one brand in the category, with a value share of 27.3 per cent and a volume share 24.8 (Nielsen) which can be attributed to the brand’s broad product range enabling consumers to produce authentic Indian meals at home.
The brand recently launched the new Special Blends for 2 range, a more indulgent range of sauces designed for two people in a 285g jar.
Patak’s best-sellers of sauces and pastes are Korma, Madras, Tikka Masala and Balti.
The stir fry sauce market, bought by 28 per cent of UK households, is currently worth £23.3 million (Kantar).
Stir fry cooking methods alone provide consumers with healthy and exciting food options, along with interesting flavours and techniques that are simple to prepare, as such assisting in the increase in purchase.
Stir fry is incredibly flexible allowing consumers to use what they have available and to input their own unique creativity
Blue Dragon’s most recent developments in the premium stir fry sauce category are its Restaurant Specials range. The restaurant specials range is perfect for consumers who are searching for quick easy and simple ways to recreate, meals they would experience when dining out in restaurants
Restaurant Specials stir fry sauces are presented in 120g stand up pouches in 4 variants, Yellow Bean and Cashew Nuts, Black Pepper, Kung Po and Cantonese.
While, Blue Dragon’s two step Restaurant Specials are available in 220g glass jars, in 3 variants. Sweet & Sour Battered Chicken, Crispy Chilli Beef and Lemon Battered Chicken.
Crosse & Blackwell say they recognised a lack of innovation within the traditional cooking sauces category and in February launched two new Best of British traditional sector cooking sauces ranges to the market, which tap into the demand for home-grown produce by using key British sourced ingredients.
The first range is a quick cook sauce for those who need a convenient meal solution. It is available in four variants of creamy mushroom, honey & mustard, sausage casserole and ham & leek.
Creating an easy meal in 20 minutes, the range is aimed at time-pressured families.
The second range of Best of British sauces includes four slow cook sauces in chicken casserole, ale & mushroom, cider & mustard and cottage pie variants. The sauces can be used for traditional oven cooked casseroles and in slow cookers.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup remains the dominant brand, accounting for 22 per cent of the market and £129 million of sales September 2012 (Nielsen).
Overall, 85 per cent of the population uses ketchup. Mayonnaise is the next biggest variant of table sauce.
Unilever's Hellmann's Mayonnaise brand is the biggest brand in the mayonnaise sector, and the second-biggest brand in the sauces market overall.
It boosted ad-spend in 2011, positioning it as a cooking ingredient as well as an accompaniment. It added new flavours in 2012.
Encona, arguably the most well-established hot pepper sauce brand, saw its value sales increase 17 per cent in the year to September 2012, as hotter sauces became more popular with consumers, especially the under-35s. (Mintel).
HP Sauce remains one of the leading brands, but value sales slipped slightly to £45 million in 2012. Heinz has aimed to boost the brown sauce category with its first TV ads for five years, with the 'HP sauce of manliness' campaign.
One of the fastest developing trends in the table sauces category is the growth, and popularity of hot/chilli sauces with consumers.
The hot/chilli sauces market is seeing double digit growth year on year at + 15.3% value growth (Nielsen).
The growth has been driven by more consumers entering the category, as well as current consumers buying more and different varieties as they seek out hotter and more interesting flavours to liven up their mealtimes.
In response to the growing trend for adventurous new flavours, Heinz turned up the heat in March with the launch of its sizzling Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Mexican Chilli.
The sauce was the latest addition to the Heinz Tomato Ketchup Chilli Range which also includes the Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Fiery Chilli variety.
Available in-store now, Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Mexican Chilli is available in a 255g handy pack format.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Fiery Chilli and the Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Mexican Chilli also featured a new label as part of a refreshed range design. To create further stand-out on shelf, both products sit in brightly coloured trays, red for the Fiery Chilli flavour and bright orange for Mexican Chilli.
In the soy sauce sector, Amoy is the market leader with 61 per cent share. This year it launched two sauces, Amoy Special Selection Soy Sauce and Amoy Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce, inspiring consumers to add Oriental adventure to mealtimes.
The Oriental market is performing strongly with strong year-on-year growth rates (Nielsen).
Hellmann’s Real mayonnaise is Unilever’s biggest selling table sauce and the brand has a sector leading 69.4 per cent market share of the mayonnaise sector, which is worth over £144 million (IRI).
Last month, Hellmann’s launched a brand new no-mess squeezy format across its entire portfolio
Available now to all retailers, the launch of the new packaging format is benefiting from a £2.8 million marketing investment around the BBQ season this year and will be supported by the brand’s “No messing” campaign throughout 2013, which comprises digital, PR, in-store activation as well as a TV and print advertising campaign.
Hellmann’s new packaging format has been developed in response to consumer research and demand for squeezy formats that give greater convenience and freshness.
The new easy-to-use, squeezable packaging features a clean lock cap, with a ‘no mess’ patented design and a bigger base for maximum stability.
The new look, smooth modern shape also allows for larger Hellmann’s branding and greater stand out on shelf.
Unilever also has the leading brand in the mustard sector with its Colman’s mustard brand, which has a 51.6 per cent market share of the mustard sector and is worth over £17 million in value sales (IRI).
Encona recently expanded its market-leading hot sauces range with the addition of its hottest ever SKU, Encona West Indian Extra Hot Pepper Sauce.
In March, Encona Sauces launched a smaller case size of six for retailers who have limited space, thereby reducing the risk for retailers who would like to try new products or offer a variety of flavours to their shoppers.
Cholula Hot Sauce is another well established hot sauce brand. The company is currently celebrating the recent launch of the Bruce Willis film “A Good Day to Die Hard” on Blu-ray, DVD and digital HD, with an on-pack promotion.
Available on all Cholula Hot Sauce bottles, fans are being asked to join the new Cholula UK Facebook page www. Facebook.com/cholulaUK and post a fun picture involving Cholula.
Prizes include a 3-day trip to Russia to see where ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ was set plus t-shirts and DVDs.
The Cholula Hot Sauce bottleneck promotion will create strong presence on the shelf.