Ambient wet cooking sauces continue to dominate the market, however, the sales decline witnessed in 2013 is estimated to continue in 2014. The lacklustre performance of the pasta market and the warm weather seen through much of 2014 have likely curbed demand.

2013_Mintel_hi-resThe market faces intense competition from scratch cooking. A quarter of people cook sauces from scratch at least once a week, the interest fuelled by perceptions of scratch-cooked sauces as better for you and tastier than shop-bought ones. It remains to be seen whether the recipe base products entering the market in 2014 can win over scratch cooks with their proposition of convenience, transparency and scope to tailor the dish.

While stocks and gravy remain menu staples, only a minority of users use stocks in multiple ways. Given Brits’ love of variety and newness on their menus, a reliance on traditional uses puts the segment in a potentially risky position. The interest among younger consumers in stocks made for ethnic dishes and gravies made for foods other than roasts or sausages suggests scope for NPD (New Product Development) to support usage.

In terms of market size, the UK cooking/pasta sauces, stocks and gravy market recorded a 9% increase in value sales between 2009 and 2013 to reach £1,140 million. However, sales are estimated to have fallen to £1,111 million in 2014. While value sales of gravy and stocks are anticipated to remain stagnant going forward, the expected decline in cooking sauce sales is set to pull the performance of the overall market down.

In terms of usage, just over a quarter of people (26%) cook sauces from scratch at least once a week, highlighting the competition that scratch cooking poses to the market. Meanwhile, seven in 10 adults have used stocks (71%) or gravy (70%) in the last six months. Despite high-profile NPD in recent years focusing on new formats, stock cubes remain the go-to choice for stocks and granules/powder are the most popular gravy format.

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