Sauces and Seasonings

Friday, 2nd March, 2018

Sauces and Seasonings

As we continue full steam ahead into 2018, trends surrounding sauces and seasonings are going global. Harissa, sriracha and sweet peri-peri are marinating our burgers, chicken and even veg as consumers continue to fuel growth in the category, as hard-hitting flavours continue to appeal.

According to Mintel research consumer tastes are changing in terms of both types of meal eaten and flavour preferences. In fact nearly half of people are eating meals traditional condiments go with less often than they used to do, therefore sauces with new flavours from around the world will be important in driving usage, with hot and spicy flavours already explored in NPD.
“Changing meal preferences have hit the demand for traditional condiments,” says Richard Caines, Senior Food & Drink Analyst.

“Meanwhile, NPD focus around hot and spicy flavours and those inspired by world cuisines has so far failed to re-energise sales,” he continues.

“Steps to re-engage users are much needed. With strong interest in versatility, suggestions for pairing condiments with different meals or using them as an ingredient in recipes can drive relevance.”

Global flavours

We’re all gourmets now – with connectivity opening our minds and our palates to glorious new flavours from around the globe, we crave the latest, taste-bud tingling eating experiences. 

“Sauces and seasonings are so popular because they offer a taste of the exotic, allowing low-risk excursions into new flavour adventures, and of course still satisfying demand for stalwart favourites like barbecue,” says Al Thaker, Marketing Controller, McCormick (UK) Ltd.

“On the side they enable customisation, a trend very much in demand from consumers who want to express their individuality and experiment with far-flung flavours.”

Highlighted in the McCormick Flavour Forecast 2018, the casual, adventurous and interactive nature of how people are eating across the world today is highlighted– a perfect fit with the food-to-go/QSR industry.

“Dive into street food flavour fusion with a gyro-taco hybrid – plantain arepas filled with grilled steak and tzatziki hot sauce or discover a Japanese izakaya favourite, onigiri stuffed rice balls, sprinkled with furikake seasoning,” adds Mr Thacker. 

“Or take a bite of East Africa with spicy Tanzanian BBQ skewers and tomato onion sauce.  So much of the mystique lies within the seductive sauces and seasoning.”

In the report McCormick also pin-point ‘Handheld Flavour Fusion’ as a trend to note, and operators are encouraged to take to the streets for the latest fusing of global cuisines. 

“Carts, trucks and food halls are merging high-flavour fillings with unique crepes, buns and breads for loaded street fare you eat with your hands,” says Mr Thacker. 

One example operators can incorporate into their menus are sizzling egg crepes - called ‘Jianbing’ in China and ‘Dan Bing’ in Taiwan - these thin pancakes are griddled, filled and rolled up like a burrito.  You can stuff these Asian wraps with regional American tastes like smoky pork, crisp slaw and tangy sauce for a Southern twist.

Hot Sauce

With the passion for heat that’s embracing the nation, one of the most popular flavour trends still on the market is Sriracha.  As a sauce, it’s achieved almost cult status from its origins in South East Asian restaurants.

“Sriracha has its heritage in Asian food, but it’s fantastic for spicing up traditional dishes such as burgers, chicken, burritos and macaroni cheese, even for sprinkling onto finished dishes such as pizzas,” explains Mr Thacker. 
“It’s also perfect as a rub or marinade for seafood, chicken, meat and vegetables.  Consistent and easy to incorporate with other ingredients, it can be added without changing the texture of the dish, so it’s also perfect for adding to coatings and batters before deep frying, as well as mixing through rice or pasta dishes.”

• Al Thaker, Marketing Controller, McCormick (UK) Ltd
• Brian Yip, Director, Wing Yip
• Tom Styman-Heighton, Development Chef, Funnybones Foodservice
• Flip and Dip
• Orange Buffalo
• Pritesh Mody, Flavour Guru, World of Zing
• Tom Atkinson, Waring Brand Manager, Nisbets Plc.
• Michael Eyre, Culinary Director, Jestic Foodservice Equipment
• Aine Melichar, Senior Brand Manager, Kerrymaid

Why are sauces and seasonings so popular among consumers?

“In the same way as making anything fresh in the kitchen, producing sauces and seasonings from scratch allows the operator personalise the taste, consistency and style of the product, while also enhancing the quality of the menu,” Michael Eyre, Culinary Director, Jestic Foodservice Equipment

“Quick and simple to produce, homemade products really give the sense of quality and class across a menu. What’s more, by using locally sourced or seasonal ingredients, operators can easily change the menu to suit different seasons and trends throughout the year.”

“Customers love customising their food to make their own personal statement dish, and sauces and seasonings give them the opportunity to do this,” adds Tom Styman-Heighton, Development Chef at Funnybones Foodservice.
“A great quality plain burger can become one person’s spicy bean and avocado treat, another’s cheesy stack and yet another’s fried egg and chilli sauce supper. Sides, sauces and seasonings make the difference, and can turn any plain food – a steak, a hot dog or a burger into a feast that is tailor made to the customer.”
Pritesh Mody, Flavour Guru, World of Zing adds; “Sauces and seasonings provide an easy access point into a world of flavours whilst remaining within their culinary comfort zone. 

“For example, a simple burger or grilled chicken can be transformed into something far more exciting with the addition of a delicious internationally inspired table sauce without needing any cooking skill.”

How can vendors ensure their businesses stand out from competitors whilst using sauces and seasonings?

More and more restaurants are turning their attention to their sauce offerings resulting in new concept outlets where the sauce is the star.

Restaurants like Dip & Flip are reinventing the sauces and seasonings market, and have made gravy – one of the UKs most popular sauces - the ‘star of the show’.  Offering customers roast meat sandwiches ‘dipped’ in gravy and ‘flipped’ flat griddle smashed burgers, the Battersea Rise born concept has proved a hit with consumers looking for something a little different. 

Growing at an impressive rate the concept now churns out 900 litres of gravy a week, and since the success of their original branch have opened up three other sites in Wimbledon, Tooting and Brixton.

Overall the sauces sector in particular has seen a huge rise in quality and variety in recent years, although it’s important to realise that with sauces, there are few short-cuts to quality. 

“Operators can now pick the perfect sauce to match their flavour aspirations and price constraints,” explains Pritesh.  “Moreover, operators can also add perceived value to their products by collaborating with exciting sauce brands.”
Today’s well-travelled consumer demands authentic flavours, not just a British-style approximation of popular dishes. “This is why specialist wholesalers have the edge when it comes to world foods,” says Tom.  “A specialist wholesaler has expert knowledge on the authentic flavours and ingredients demanded by any particular cuisine, and can build links with trusted suppliers in the region, thus giving your offering credibility.
“As a wholesaler that focusses almost entirely on the cuisines of the USA, Tex-Mex, and Mexico, Funnybones Foodservice brings the flavours of North, Central and South America to the UK foodservice market.
“Our buyers are the experts when it comes to American and Mexican foods and they comb the region to offer high quality authentic products.”
Consumers are constantly seeking new and exciting flavours and at Wing Yip, they pride themselves on the authenticity of their products and are devoted to offering an excellent choice to those who are not only seeking faster solutions in the kitchen but most importantly, looking for specific or new flavours which add depth to dishes.
“Versatility is key for any kitchen to meet the growing demands of consumers,” says Brian Yip, Director of Wing Yip.  “Whether that’s enhancing classic dishes with authentic spices, or switching up the marinade, chefs understand the importance of creating unique twists on dishes that will keep diners interested and coming back for more.
“Available in foodservice sizes, Wing Yip’s extensive range offers chefs a helping hand when it comes to timesaving solutions which can help boost efficiency and creativity in the kitchen,” adds Brian. 
“Operators can capitalise on this opportunity by evolving their menu selection, exciting customers and encouraging them to make more adventurous meal choices.
In recent months Wing Yip have seen a significant rise in demand for their ‘Mai Siam’ range.
“The range includes 20 products, providing operators with a fast and convenient way to deliver consistently high-quality dishes – all of which are vegan friendly, gluten and MSG free,” says Brian.
The Mai Siam Thai Sriracha Chilli Sauce is a fantastic example of a product which showcases versatility. It can be used as a dipping sauce and also as an ingredient when cooking noodles and rice-based dishes, adding a spicy kick to any meal.
Brian adds; “The range also includes Pad Thai, Thai Sweet Chilli and Thai Sriracha Hot Sauce which can form the base of many dishes with vegetables or tofu, creating a wealth of meal options such as curries, stir-fries, stews or soup.”
What are the most popular flavour trends on the market at present?
For busy operators, convenience and performance in the kitchen, whilst still providing consistently great taste, is paramount.

“Effective menu development is reliant on understanding current consumer trends and changing food styles, and a good sauce can make all the difference,” explains Aine Melichar, Senior Brand Manager, Kerrymaid.

“By adding a few ingredients to the mother sauces, operators can create a vast range of dishes, easily expanding their menu for diners.”

Forming two of the five mother sauces, Kerrymaid Hollandaise and Kerrymaid Béchamel give time back to busy operators and offer them greater flexibility when developing menus. The ready to use sauces take away the time-consuming task of making a sauce from scratch and remove the risk of waste through splitting or inconsistency.

“Diners are becoming more adventurous with their food choices, and while Kerrymaid Béchamel can be used in its own right as a sauce, by adding Gruyere cheese or parsley, you can create a mornay or parsley sauce which works well with dishes involving fish,” adds Aine.

Kerrymaid Béchamel can also be used as a base for a mustard sauce, which is commonly found in hot dogs and hot sandwiches. By adding Kerrymaid Grated, operators can create the perfect creamy sauce for macaroni cheese or as a topping for beef burgers.

Aine adds; “With current trends focusing on global favours with bolder ingredients, caterers could try a nantua sauce using Kerrymaid Béchamel as a base, by adding cream, paprika and diced shellfish for a French style dish.

“Similarly, although mainly used as an accompaniment for Eggs Benedict, Kerrymaid Hollandaise can also be used as a base sauce to create béarnaise which is perfect for topping a range of meat dishes, especially when tomato paste and heavy cream is added to create a richer choron sauce. For fish dishes, caterers could create a maltaise sauce with orange juice and orange zest, for customers looking for a citrus twist to their meal.”

Spice it up!
Sauces and seasonings have crossed continents in recent years with a huge rise in the popularity of the spicy and chilli flavoured sauces featured in cuisines from South America, the Caribbean and Asia. Today, every sauce selection should include some spicy options, and hot sauces are now almost standard as a side offering. 
As specialist wholesalers of authentic American, Mexican and Tex-Mex foods, Funnybones Foodservice has responded to this trend by introducing a wide range of condiments with a kick, including some really different new sauces.
“For example, our range of Encona table sauces,” begins Tom.  “West Indian Extra Hot Pepper sauce is already established as a favourite but we have added two more Encona varieties to the range for those establishments looking to tempt their customers with something a little different. 
“Encona Peruvian Amarillo Chilli Sauce brings the taste of Peru to the table with a blend including authentic Peruvian Amarillo chillies creating a sweet, subtle chilli flavour with just a hint of garlic.  The perfect accompaniment to grilled meat, prawns and fish, it also works well drizzled over salads or used as a dipping sauce.
What equipment is essential for operators to make the most of their Sauces & Seasonings?
“When it comes to the production of fresh sauces and seasonings, a quality commercial blender is essential,” begins Michael Eyre of Jestic.

“Used to create a delicious smooth texture and consistent taste throughout, the blender in question can often make the difference when it comes to making a quality meal. Vitamix has been a leader in the commercial blender and food processor market for over 70 years.

“Designed and manufactured from the highest quality, engineered materials, the range features a host of models to suit the needs of the kitchen.

Café Spice Namasté has become a London institution since first opening just a short walk from the recognisable outline of the Tower of London, over 20 years ago. Known for offering some of the finest, most innovative Indian food in the country, the restaurant is committed to using the best local British produce available. Led by popular chef and TV personality, Cyrus Todiwala and his wife Pervin, Café Spice Namasté continues to be an iconic foodie destination in the historic east end of London.

On the restaurant, Cyrus explains: “We opened Café Spice Namasté in 1995 as a way to demonstrate some of the rich, diverse culinary delights to be found throughout India. Proud to be the first restaurant in London to break away from the traditional Indian designs, we choose to make the restaurant as bright and colourful as possible.
“Over time, our menus have evolved and developed, however we have always remained consistent in our passion for using the finest ingredients, sourced where possible, from local British suppliers.”
Having been producing a rich and diverse seasonal menu for over two decades and with an emphasis on flavour combinations, colours and textures, Cyrus and his team of experienced chefs require kitchen equipment they can rely on.
He continues: “Our kitchen brigade rely on the equipment we supply them with at all times. We produce everything in house, from cooking fresh and vibrant dishes through to blending our own spice mixes, purees and sauces for the dishes.
“This puts a great deal of demand on the equipment in our kitchen and as such, we need to know that we will not be let down when we need it most.”
When it comes to a commercial grade kitchen blender, Cyrus and his brigade have relied on the impressive power, consistency and robustness of his Vitamix Vita-Prep 3, going on to say: “To begin with, we used many different blenders and food processors in the restaurant with varying results.
“It quickly became clear that with the constant use and our requirement for everything from the finest powders through to smooth, rich sauces and liquid spice blends, only the very best equipment would stand up to the plate.
With the quality and diversity of the menu playing a role in the success of Café Spice Namasté, Cyrus requires a blender that offers versatility alongside the consistent results, adding:
“We use our Vitamix Vita-Prep 3 in a number of different ways. Everything from blending dry roasted herbs and spices into a fine powder or a more coarse meat rub to pureeing a range of different ingredients into deliciously smooth, vibrant stocks, sauces and pastes. The Vita-Prep 3 has even allowed us blend sugar into a much finer powder without the heat from the motor causing the granules to clump together as we’ve found in other commercial blenders.”
So robust is the design of the Vitamix blenders, Cyrus is still able to use some of the original components to this day, explaining: “My chefs are still able to use the two of the jugs from the original blender today. We have noticed that the equipment is manufactured with extremely hardwearing components and materials that have helped them last extremely well over the years, despite being heavily used in our kitchens. In fact, our blender has only needed to be fixed twice in the eight years, and one of those was as a result of chef error!”
Relying on the blender for components of dishes across his menu Cyrus and his team put a great deal of trust in the Vitamix, concluding: “Having used appliances in the Vitamix range for the past eight years, I would thoroughly recommend the brand, without question, to any chef looking for the very best in consistency, power and reliability.”
Also available is the Waring Spice Grinder, available from Nisbets, offers the ideal solution. Why not experiment with new flavours such as miso powder, kaffir lime leaves, sumac, kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), amchoor (dried Mango powder) or matcha?
Suitable for use with wet and dry spices and seasonings, the Waring Spice Grinder WSG60K can grind hard spices such as fenugreek seeds or cinnamon sticks, and process up to 1.5 cups of pastes, dressings, butters and sauces at a time with ease. With a high performance, 25,000 rpm, 1HP commercial grade motor, it features continuous ‘on’ operation or pulse activation to fine tune your grind and create the perfect consistency.
This model from Waring is user-friendly, with a sealed, clear-view lid and safety lock, whilst its hardwearing, commercial design, featuring durable stainless steel blades, makes it ideal for busy commercial kitchens.
What does the future hold for the sauce and seasoning market?
“The British have always had a love for condiments, whether it be Ketchup or Tabasco,” says Pritesh. 
“Whilst this sector is growing, it’s particularly exciting for challenger brands who are rapidly taking market share from the old guard of brands.”
“The rise in the popularity of street food amongst consumers has led to an ongoing trend towards the use of aromatic spices, sauces and condiments from across the globe, “adds Tom Atkinson, Waring Brand Manager, Nisbets Plc.

“Authentic flavours from the Middle East, Northern Africa and Japan, such as fermented umami flavours (from mushrooms, soy sauce and seaweed), along with blends of cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and other spices, are a great way to add flavoursome notes to a wide variety of meats, fish and vegetarian/vegan options,” continues Tom.

“Additionally including a mixture of different styles of cuisine from across the globe will ensure that chefs have something on their menu that will appeal to all tastes.
“And making it clear on menus that all spices have been freshly ground on site can also offer a point of difference with customers and help to justify a higher price-point for dishes.”