Getting Creative with Condiments

Condiments pair up well with proteins, breads and vegetables.

Sarah Klose

From easy spreads for wraps to delicious toppings on chicken, condiments offer a plethora of choices for the creative retailer and consumer. And the popularity of condiments continues to grow.

New York-based Statista reports that, in 2022, the Sauces and Condiments segment will generate $226.5 billion in global revenue, an increase of 4.9%.

Staples and New Products

Condiments are dipped, dripped, spread and roasted onto rolls, flatbreads, chips, vegetables and proteins. Staple condiments include ground mustard, horseradish and submarine dressing. Fresh salsas and cole slaws, sold refrigerated, join these classics. By infusing flavor and pizazz into their staples, manufacturers have developed new products that please the palate.

“To capture an expanded taste profile of the consumer, we have line extensions such as Jalapeño and Pineapple Honey mustards from our original Deli mustard,” says Tom Orlando, national sales director for Conroy Foods in Pittsburgh, PA. “We also offer a Balsamic Submarine Dressing and an Olive Oil Submarine Dressing from our Original Submarine Dressing.”

Conroy Foods makes Beano’s Deli Condiments such as dressings, sauces and spice blends. Sriracha Sandwich Sauce and When Buffaloes Fly Chicken Wing Sauce are but two of its many innovative items. Baked Asparagus Fries and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes recipes on its website incorporate Beano’s products.

Lakeview Farms’ Rojo’s brands models its new Cantina Dips after dishes popular at Mexican restaurants. The dips appeal to consumers who want authentic ingredients in a homemade meal.

“You can use the Chicken Enchilada Verde Dip to make a green chile soup, the Chicken Fajita Dip in quesadillas, the Beef Taco Dip on an empanada shell,” says Eloise Cabral, marketing director for Rojo’s, based in Buena Park, CA.

Rojo’s brand, founded in 1985, includes salsas and dips in a small batch method with fresh ingredients from local growers. Salsa flavors include Southwest Fire Roasted and Mango Peach. Its five-layer dips are sold nationally by Walmart and Costco. Since 2018, Rojo’s brands has been owned by Lakeview Farms in Delphos, OH.

Flavor Trends

When it comes to flavors, consumers gravitate toward wholesome taste and organic ingredients. So condiment companies offer all-natural, minimally-produced options.

“Our new product is gluten-free, non-GMO Prepared Horseradish,” says Jeni Path, marketing manager at Silver Spring Foods, Inc. in Eau Claire, WI. “It is actually running on our production lines in February 2022, that is how new it is.”

Silver Spring Foods, family-run for nearly 100 years, makes horseradish, mustards and sauces. Products include Seafood Cocktail Sauce and Kosher Horseradish with Beets. Its “Zing Masters” team of research and development specialists produce and rate its hot-tasting items. The company markets to retail, industrial, private label and foodservice customers.

Beaverton Foods produces a clean Stone Ground Mustard—its bestselling mustard—and an organic Honey Mustard.

“Mustards have a lot of flavor, and they are also nutritionally insignificant, meaning they do not add a lot of bad things,” says Domonic Biggi, CEO of Beaverton Foods, Inc. in Hillsboro, OR. “You can make dressings out of mustard really easily with just olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can substitute mustard for high-sugar items like ketchup and mayonnaise.”

Beaverton Foods was founded by Biggi’s grandmother Rose in 1929; she ground horseradish in her farmhouse cellar. Today, the company produces more than 70 products—from Beaver Brand Coney Island Mustard to Inglehoffer Cream Style Horseradish. It pioneered the squeeze bottle for specialty mustard, has won James Beard Awards and is sold in 25 countries.

Roast Pepper Mustard and Wasabi Horseradish, two new products by Beaverton Foods, have exotic flavors. Condiments with globally-inspired flavors—from Mexican to Mediterranean, from Asian to Southwestern—are popular, and can be found in deli aisles across America.

“People buy with their eyes. They look for foods that are different and unique and colorful,” says Carl Cappelli, senior vice president of sales and business development for Don’s Prepared Foods in Schwenksville, PA. “Such as our Street Corn Dip—even food trucks could buy it.”

Founded in 1970, Don’s Prepared Foods makes 140 products such as grain salads, deli salads, dips, desserts and cream cheeses. The company sells to retail, foodservice and the airline industry. Military bases and academies, including West Point and Annapolis, carry items by Don’s.

Condiments in the Deli

Condiments may be sold in the deli or grocery store aisle but many are found in the deli due to the products’ unique characteristics and versatility.

Rojo’s Fresh Salsa is in the deli. “It has a shorter shelf life, but people would choose it because it has fresher vegetables. There is a healthy perception that refrigerated salsa is better tasting and better for you,” says Cabral of Rojo’s brands.

Conroy Foods produces shelf-stable condiments that could logically be placed anywhere in the store. But its Balsamic Dressing is merchandised by the bagged salads.

“We have a great track record and have been in business long enough that our loyal customer base specifically looks for our product within the deli,” says Orlando of Conroy Foods. He says cross merchandising could be expanded. “For example, having our Beano’s Honey Mustard on display by the frozen chicken nuggets or having a display of Beano’s Horseradish sauce by the meat case when beef is on sale,” he says.

With the rise of grab-and-go, delis often include small cups of dips, salsas and spreads.

“Our cocktail sauce is going out in shrimp platters. And I know we sell other ingredients to delis, such as horseradish and believe they make their own sauces,” says Path of Silver Spring Foods.

Don’s Prepared Foods produces 17 cream cheese flavors under the name Melanie’s Medleys. Delis can use them in wraps, platters, breakfast fruit rollups. And its dips have seemingly limitless capabilities.

“For the deli, you could do a grilled panini with artichokes, mushrooms and our Asiago Cheese dip as a spread. You can spread it on pizza or flatbread with fresh spinach or crabmeat,” says Cappelli. “I always have fun when I meet with a Publix, and say, ‘Look, people are looking for global flavors and plant-based, and you are underutilizing this in the deli department.’ ”

Packaging Trends

Condiment packaging continues to evolve under COVID, and several trends are popular. Convenience, which means microwaveable containers and grab-and- go. Safe sharing, which means flip tops and small packages. Eco-friendliness, which is a move toward fiber, glass and recyclables.

Beaverton was selling products in gallon sizes and squeeze bottles before COVID. Biggi noticed a switch to single serve and portion control, from companies that were buying from them in bulk. Yet small packets may be frowned on for being wasteful.

Don’s Prepared Foods manufactures few pre-packaged cups and prefers to sell 5-pound tubs. “The independent markets buy our dips and scoop them out into a cup with their name on it,” says Cappelli of Don’s. “We aren’t trying to build a brand like Kraft cheese; we are the wind beneath the wings for the deli.”

Dom’s Kitchen and Market in Chicago carries 25 dips by Don’s Prepared Foods, including mango lime and Cajun crab, for making wrap sandwiches. Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace in New York offers Don’s dips and has become “the dip destination, in that the consumer perceives it is made fresh there every day,” Cappelli says.

Marketing and Merchandising

Favorite marketing techniques at the deli include shelf topper ads and shippers. Beaverton Foods has a floor-standing shipper that holds 48 units of product, so consumers can make their own charcuterie boards from cheeses, meats and condiments.

Conroy Foods says delis can differentiate by adding add a few twists to the program, such as offering its Cranberry Honey Mustard on turkey sandwiches and Pineapple Honey Mustard on ham sandwiches, all year round.

With the changes in consumer shopping habits, e-commerce and information merchandising are effective tools. Rojo’s brands runs banner ads on Instacart and tells influencers where to buy its products. Its online recipes include Homemade Goalpost Tortilla Chips and Diablo Deviled Eggs.

Silver Spring Foods received a fan’s permission to publicize the drink recipe posted on its Facebook page. “Peter’s Bloody Mary Recipe contains our Dijon Mustard and Prepared Horseradish, and has reached approximately 5,000 people through Facebook,” says Path.

On the Horizon

With condiments, Cappelli of Don’s foresees a continued desire for plant-based, all-natural, edgy and globally-inspired flavors. Cabral of Rojo’s plans to continue to enhance the at-home experience for consumers.

Beaverton Foods expects continued growth in the hot and spicy category. “There are new flavors, maybe a new pepper I never heard of, that might become the the latest greatest trend. We are always on the lookout for that,” Biggi says.

Silver Spring Foods expects flavorful creations. Path says ‘everything bagel’ was trending on UK-based Mintel’s site in 2020-21—there was even an ice cream. So Silver Spring Foods launched Everything Bagel Mustard. And when smoky flavors were trending in 2021, “we already had our Applewood Smoked Horseradish on the market,” Path says.

As Fortune 500 companies continue to develop line extensions, new flavors and new marketing opportunities for condiments, quality will remain important.

“I still believe, and our sales support this belief, that consumers still want good-tasting, value-positioned products with positive ingredient attributes that can be enjoyed by the whole family,” says Orlando of Conroy Foods. DB


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