Summer is just around the corner, so it’s time to shake the dust off the barbecue and get ready for grilling season. While meat and veggies are the stars of the show when it comes to foods to throw on the grill, the condiments that accompany them are just as important to add a punch of flavor. Consumers are already familiar with the basics like steak and BBQ sauce, and research shows that they’re looking at a variety of inspired flavors that are available on the market.
That’s not to say that shoppers aren’t comforted by the classics, however. Taking a look at popular condiments for grilling season, we see that people are trying out new flavors for grilling but are still reaching for old favorites, too. Let’s take a look at the most popular condiments for summer and some of the factors that are fueling these trends.
Cost and Versatility of Products
It’s no secret that the cost of just about everything is creeping higher and higher. Shoppers have noticed, so they want to be able to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to the foods and products they buy. This includes popular condiments and sauces, as well. When consumers were polled, nearly three-quarters of respondents stated that they will opt for condiments that can be used in a number of different ways. It’s cost-effective and helps to reduce clutter in the fridge, since nobody wants the door of the fridge packed to capacity with all kinds of sauces and condiments.
It’s frustrating to see a delicious new recipe on Pinterest only to learn that it calls for specific ingredients that you won’t get much use out of later. Consumers want to buy fewer products that allow them to create a number of different flavor profiles and dishes. Having a few top condiment flavors on hand helps battle cooking fatigue as well, as home cooks can fall back on a few trusty sauces to help build recipes upon.
Sustainability in Packaging
As we become more aware of the impact climate change is having on our world, it’s worth noting that consumers are making conscious decisions about the carbon footprint of the products that they buy. Even though it may cost a bit more, more than 30% of shoppers under the age of 45 report that they want more condiments that come in sustainable packaging. They would like to see environmentally-friendly products with a lower carbon footprint from both trusted brands and emerging ones.
Creating eco-friendly packaging may seem like a pricy risk for producers, but it’s a sure way to keep shoppers coming back for more, especially with younger generations. Shoppers made it clear that having sustainable packaging would make them more likely to try a new product. In fact, this was the leading response, even above functional benefits and restaurant-inspired options.
Differences in Generational Tastes
It’s common for people across different generations to have different tastes in music, movies, and fashion. One thing that is surprising is that different generations also have varying preferences when it comes to sauces and summer condiments. Older generations are more likely to try and consistently buy more types of condiments than younger ones do.
However, younger generations are more likely to opt for the tasty flavors that they enjoy in restaurants. Think gourmet condiments or ones that have been replicated by restaurants to mass-produce and sell to consumers. Regardless of age, people who buy more condiments and sauces than those who buy fewer are also more likely to opt for culinary-inspired condiments to elevate their home cooking.
At the height of the pandemic, many people decided to learn some new cooking skills and get creative in the kitchen. Though the majority of restaurants are once again operating at their normal levels, the cost of pantry staples and produce is making people reconsider how often they eat out or order takeout. As a result, consumers want top condiments for grilling with inspired flavors to create restaurant-quality dishes at home.
Right now, bold flavors are having their moment in the spotlight. For the last few years, hot flavors like jalapeño, habanero, and chili have been making a statement as the top emerging flavors. Alongside them are classic flavors for grilling like teriyaki, BBQ, and honey BBQ. Besides the flavors, there’s an uptick in higher-quality products. We’re seeing interesting new condiments on the market that are innovative and show a commitment to giving consumers a top-notch product. This includes condiments that are produced in small batches or made by hand. If consumers have to pay more, they should get more for their money.
Another interesting trend is that international flavors are making their way into everyday condiments. Bright, bold flavors like lemongrass, soy, ginger, and sweet heat are some of the fastest-growing flavors that are being paired with condiments due to their versatility and taste. Flavors from Mexico and Southeast Asia are big in barbecue right now, both on supermarket shelves and in restaurants. Chefs in restaurant kitchens across the U.S. are incorporating these flavors into barbecue dishes while using familiar American cooking techniques. The result is a unique blending of cultures and cooking methods that’s part of what makes American cuisine so innovative and inspiring.
Exciting New Flavors To Come
Grilling condiments are a must in the summer, as there’s nothing better than being able to cook and eat a meal outside in the warm sunshine. Even though consumers look to trusty favorites, they also want to see new products on the market from both new and beloved brands. Besides finding creative ways to incorporate these bold flavors at home, consumers are looking forward to finding these flavors when they go out to eat, too. Chefs are taking grilling condiments to the next level and pushing the boundaries with creativity, going as far as to include these products in desserts.
It’s an exciting time for grilling condiments as new flavors are introduced to the market, as well as gourmet-level products that allow home chefs to create delicious dishes like never before. Incorporating international flavors into the grilling season through condiments and sauces is a tasty way to explore the world through a culinary lens in a way that’s familiar and easy to prepare. Grilling season is one of the highlights of summer, and consumers are ready to try all the new flavors in store.
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