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“It’s the age old question – brown sauce or red? And finds it’s good news for the darker variety as Brits relish the brown stuff. Mintel’s latest research into sauces and seasonings reveals that sales of brown sauce are on the increase, rising a fruity 9% between 2010 and 2011, sales increasing from £47 million in 2010 to £51 million in 2011.

Accounting for almost a fifth (18%) of all thick and thin sauces, it appears sales of brown sauces have received a real boost from recent new product development – as, today, as many as 58% of Brits keep a regular supply of brown sauce in the home. The””nation’s favourite””tomato sauce accounts for almost three fifths (57%) of all thick and thin sauce sales, and is a store cupboard staple for 87% of all Brits. But while ketchup accounts for the lion’s share of table sauce sales, there was a slight dip in sales for ketchup between 2010 and 2011 as sales declined almost 2%, falling from £169 million in 2010 to £166 million in 2011.

Amy Lloyd, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel, said:

“”Brown sauce has been the surprise star performer of the table sauces market, bucking the downward sales trend experienced by other sauces. The rise in sales of brown sauce shows how a traditional product can be reinvigorated and perform extremely well in a market where sales of other products are remaining the same or slipping. New product development shows how brand extensions peripheral to the core brand can attract renewed interest and shift the focus away from relying on promotional activity as a means of engaging consumers and provide buzz around a product.””

Meanwhile, it’s been a bit of a wet weekend for barbecue and other thin sauces (including soy, Worcester sauce and chili sauce) where sales fell from £36 million in 2010 to £32 million in 2011.

“”Barbecue sauce, along with other thick sauces, experienced strong sales in 2010 with much of the growth attributed to the ‘barbecue summer’ and events such as the FIFA Football World Cup, sales suffered a decline in 2011 as the warm weather failed to materialise following a promising spring.””

Valued at £40 million in 2011, sales of thin sauces have held on to their share of the table sauces market, benefiting from versatility of products such as soy sauce and chilli, which can be used as a cooking ingredient or an accompaniment to various dishes. Overall sales of thick and thin sauces fell by 1% between 2010 and 2011 dipping from £292 million in 2010 to £289 million in 2011.