The condiments category encompasses a wide range of products including all types of sauces and marinades, salsas, pasta sauce, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, oils, vinegars, and salad dressings; chutneys and relishes; specialty appetizers and seasonings; herbs, spices, and seasoning mixes; along with jams, jellies, conserves, honey, syrups, and other sweet condiments.
Consumers are becoming increasingly adventurous in their eating, a metamorphosis that is benefiting gourmet condiments—and especially international, ethnic and regional condiments. In the United States, immigration patterns that have brought more people from Latin America and Asia have broadened the nation’s culinary horizons.
As America’s overall eating habits turn from bland dishes to flavorful ethnic foods, consumers increasingly are preparing dishes that call for more seasonings than standard American fare. Accordingly, marketers have developed a plethora of gourmet/specialty condiments that make it easy to add international and ethnic flavors to their cooking.
Unlike many other food categories, where sales tend to peak during the fourth quarter holidays, the best season for condiments in the U.S. market is the summer, when barbecues and cook-outs call for barbecue sauce, meat marinades, ketchup, and mustard. Salad dressings also tend to experience stronger sales in the summer.