KANSAS CITY — Condiment makers are offering consumers more than flavor, with product developers adding healthy attributes to their latest innovations to grow sales. Approaches taken include the incorporation of fruits and vegetables, and functional ingredients, as well as bringing formulations into alignment with a specific diet trend.
The efforts play into data showing one in five adults is trying to manage a health condition with their food and beverage choices, according to The NPD Group’s annual “Eating patterns in America” report. The inclusion of fruits and vegetables is particularly popular as consumer interest in plant-based eating accelerates.
The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2019 Food & Health survey showed that adding fruits and vegetables into their diet was a key goal for some consumers. When asked what was different about their diet compared to 10 years ago, the top three answers were limiting sugar intake, eating more fruits and vegetables, and eating less carbohydrates. In the same manner product developers have responded to consumer aversion to sugar and carbohydrates, IFIC is highlighting the addition of fruits and vegetables.
The Kraft Heinz Co., Chicago, introduced its Heinz Tomato Ketchup with a Blend of Veggies late last year. The condiment features added carrots and butternut squash and contains 25% added vegetables and 25% less sugar than regular Heinz Tomato Ketchup, according to the company.
Condiment makers exhibiting at this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco also innovated using fruits and vegetables. Agrania Foods, Los Angeles, introduced a line of cauliflower dips in such flavors as spicy harissa, olive, lemon garlic and roasted red pepper. The company is marketing the new dips as “keto friendly,” with less than 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving, and healthier than competing products made from chickpea hummus.
The addition of functional ingredients to condiments also is an emerging trend.
“As a whole, we are seeking opportunities to incorporate functional foods into condiments and the food development world,” said Juliet Greene, corporate chef for Mizkan America Food Ingredients, Mount Prospect, Ill. “Probiotics, fiber and even C.B.D. are just a few ways to plus up the base formula and draw attention and appeal. Additionally, the appeal of incorporating organic A.C.V. (apple cider vinegar) continues to grow.”
Product developers also are continuing to explore the boundaries of condiment flavor innovation. Ms. Greene said spicy flavors and international cuisines continue to lead development.
“A sauce or condiment is typically a small investment, so it’s easy for consumers to try a new flavor without breaking the bank,” she said. “If they like it in a condiment, they can incorporate it in larger ways with proteins, soups and more.
“A quick world tour of trending condiments includes Vietnam — fish sauce; Morocco — harissa; Korea — kimchi; Thailand — Thai curry paste; and the Middle East — pomegranate molasses.”
Ms. Greene added that some international flavors are pushing fermented condiments to trend upward.
“Fish sauce, made of heavily salted, fermented fish, instantly adds umami and dimension to stir-fry, noodle dish or marinade,” she said. “Gochugang is a concentrated hot chile paste fortified with fermented soybeans and is essential in Korean cooking, but it is showing up on sandwiches or adding a delicious element to BBQ.
“Kimchi is a tangy, pungent relish of fermented cabbage and other vegetables, and it comes in 100-plus varieties. It makes a great side dish alone but is excellent stirred into slaws, as a topper for marinated meats or as a soup garnish.”