Spotlight on Sauces

It’s a make-it-or-break-it ingredient. Nothing has the power to elevate a dish quite like a sauce. Think about it. Sauces are a key mechanism for delivering flavor to any meal. Finding the right flavor profile for a sauce requires a deep understanding of the latest trends and consumer preferences. Consumers are constantly seeking out what’s new and what’s next – and the sauce category is no exception. Here, we put the spotlight on sauces, highlighting key trends and flavor inspiration in the category.

Get Global

International inspiration is in demand across categories and in both foodservice and retail. Middle Eastern, Asian, and South American inspired sauces, in particular, are growing in popularity with consumers. Take inspiration from popular condiments from these regions to create innovative and exciting sauces that will appeal to adventurous consumers. Think a harissa dipping sauce for proteins and vegetables, a zhug for seafood, or a romesco sauce for pasta.

Read more about trending global sauces here.

Indulgently Inspired

Although health and wellness have been top-of-mind for consumers lately, the stress of recent times have made comfort foods grow in demand like never before. Consumers have been looking to food to help relieve their stress, putting indulgence in the spotlight and making them crave nostalgia. This presents a major opportunity when it comes to sauces. Combine classically indulgent comfort foods with trending ingredients to create new favorites that will satisfy consumers’ cravings for both comfort and innovation. Think a roasted red pepper hollandaise sauce or a green chili and cheddar pasta sauce.

Turn Up the Heat

Consumers agree: the hotter the better when it comes to spicy food. Sauces present the perfect opportunity to deliver heat to all types of dishes. From dipping sauces to spreads, condiments featuring spicy heat are on the rise, growing in demand with consumers. For a while, the hot and spicy trend was being driven by Millennials. But as consumers have been getting increasingly bored and restless over the past year and a half, more consumers have been willing to step outside of their comfort zones and try something different – something spicier. This presents an opportunity to feature spicy sauces in a broader range of products and menu items. Consider featuring hot peppers, like green chilies, ghost peppers, or habaneros in sauces. Think a mango habanero seafood sauce or a Ghost Pepper BBQ sauce.

Highlight Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices are on the rise, thanks in part to their perceived health benefits. Consumers are seeking out specific ingredients to address potential health concerns. As a result, they gravitate toward products that spotlight herbs and spices that they perceive to possess a wide range of potential health properties. Turmeric has benefitted the most from this trend, having been lauded for its potential anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties. Incorporate these trendy herbs and spices in your products to attract health-conscious consumers, as well as those who are trying to keep up with the latest trends. Think a Mediterranean herb and cheese sauce for grains or a lemon turmeric sauce for seafood to appeal to these consumers.

Step Outside of The Box

More of the same just doesn’t cut it with consumers these days. Treat them to something truly unexpected by creating sauces that feature unique and unusual flavor pairings. Sweet heat is a good place to start. Capitalize on the spicy flavor trend, but appeal to consumers of all ages by adding a sweet component to make it less intimidating to consumers. Flavors like peach jalapeno are sure to be a hit with consumers. Step even further outside of the box by creating mashups inspired by the latest trends and global cuisines. Think a five spice and berry sauce for desserts or a hot maple mustard dipping sauce for proteins.

For more creative flavor combination inspiration, check out our mouthwatering mashups white paper.

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