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Fine Vines Artisanal Ketchup comes in several varieties, including alderwood, black truffle, smoked Serrano and Thai ginger.
 

Rethinking the classics

Mature condiments with established recipes are being revisited, according to Sprinkle of Packaged Facts, with innovative sauce manufacturers offering twists on the classics. For instance, many mayonnaise brands now offer wasabi, chipotle, pesto, garlic, horseradish and ginger flavors, among others.

“Ketchup varieties include chipotle, ghost pepper, sriracha and sun-dried tomato,” Sprinkle said. “Mustard might feature garlic, bleu cheese, oregano, or, of all things, ‘everything bagel’ flavors.”

For instance, Fine Foods of America offers a dozen varieties of Fine Vines Artisanal Ketchup. To stand out in the market, the ketchups come in 9-oz. glass jars rather than traditional plastic squeeze bottles. They are meant to be used as a topping, like traditional ketchup, but can also be much more. Varieties include alderwood, black truffle, smoked Serrano and Thai ginger.

This past summer, Adam Woolven, head chef at Island Grill, a sustainable restaurant in Lancaster, London, encouraged diners to reach beyond the bottle of generic tomato ketchup for a condiment with a little more kick. That would be one of his many homemade chutneys and jams.

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Island Grill offers a tangy tomato and chile jam made with fish sauce.
 
One of his favorites is a tangy tomato and chili jam. The jam gets its unique flavor from fish sauce, which contributes a hearty umami taste. It is balanced by the addition of demerara sugar, a dark brown sugar with a molasses kick. The mixture is then given a tart twist from the addition of red wine vinegar. The layers of flavors come from the chile peppers, garlic cloves and fresh ginger that are cooked with the vine-ripe plum tomatoes.

“Consumers, especially younger consumers, are driving innovation on menus and on grocery shelves,” said Lindsey Oostema, senior marketing specialist for Synergy Flavors. “They want authenticity and nostalgic flavors but with a modern and upscale twist. For example, ranch dressing is a staple but a manufacturer could make a premium, all-natural refrigerated version top noted with a cucumber essence for an upscale, refreshing spin.”


This is true for other mainstays such as marinara, salsa and barbecue. According to Sprinkle, while Italian-style sauces represent a mature market, Mexican and barbecue sauces continue to grow slowly but steadily.