Edward Bergen
Ed Bergen is a Global Food & Drink Analyst experienced in identifying FMCG trends and applying analysis to client projects to highlight opportunities in their categories.

In Australia, burgers have been a popular food of choice for a long time. More recently, there has been a dramatic rise in the popularity and number of specialised burger restaurants. Australia has not only seen an increase of premium burger chains with the likes of Grill’d and Chur Burger. Today, we are seeing a trend where popular chefs are opening premium casual burger chains, most notably, Burger Project by lauded chef Neil Perry.

While the foodie culture is certainly influencing restaurant menus, the same impact isn’t as clear when it comes to at-home products. Retail brands can borrow flavour and cooking descriptions from cutting-edge burger restaurant menus to communicate a more gourmet feel. These techniques could help burger sauce brands to meet foodie desires.

Translating the success of burger restaurants into the at-home occasion may be an opportunity for burger-specific sauces. The retail aisle has failed to keep pace with burger developments in the more innovative food-service space. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), to date, launches of burger-dedicated sauces in Australia are sparse and simple.

Just as modern Australian foodservice has redefined the burger experience, there is an opportunity to take the burger sauce concept further, while also using a gourmet positioning with more complex flavours and textures.

Flavour exploration a must for Australian foodies

Popular Australian burger restaurants use sauces to elevate a dish. For example, Chur Burger’s menu uses a wide variety of different sauces and pairs them with different meats or vegetables. Some of these include mint sauce paired with lamb, honey labne with chickpea, chilli sauce with chicken, and hot smoky BBQ sauce with an unusual beef mac and cheese option.

This aligns with Mintel research revealing that Australians, today, are looking for fusion flavours; a third of urban Australians say that they would like to try dishes with a combination of sweet and spicy flavours.

Chur Burger is helping to redefine expectations of the burger, essentially allowing any base ingredient to be used as long as it features in a bun. Condiment retail brands could look to promote a whole selection of burger-targeted sauces by following this strategy.

For lamb burgers
Potts’ Mint Sauce with a Balsamic Reduction from the UK can be added to salad dressing, spread on a lamb burger or stirred into peas and served with roast lamb.

For gourmet beef
Lidl Prime Burger, Burger Sauce with Maple Syrup & Chipotle Chilli from Germany is described as a premium quality sweet and spicy sauce with smoked chilli.

Texture helps to enhance the gourmet feel

Mintel’s 2018 Global Food & Drink 2018 ‘New Sensations’ highlights how consumers are searching for more in food than just flavour, especially when they are seeking premium products. Currently, some textured burger sauces offer rougher cuts of gherkins, onions and chilli for a more natural mouthfeel. Such innovation better reflects how burger sauces are evolving in Australia’s gourmet foodservice scene.

In Australian retail, there has been a distinct lack of textured innovation in table sauces or mayonnaises launched since 2016, according to Mintel GNPD. There is therefore an opportunity for condiments to use different types of textures, which can also be used to communicate a sauce’s gourmet credentials.