CHICAGO – The US sauces and marinades market is benefiting from an upward swing thanks to America’s return to the kitchen, according to Mintel. Between 2005 and 2010, the cooking sauces and marinades category increased 20 percent in US retail sales and is expected to rise by another 19 percent by 2015. Sales for cooking sauces and marinades reached $3.7 billion, up 20 percent during 2005-10, Mintel relayed to

Eating more meals at home helped to increase sales of both categories, as did price increases during 2008-10. However, at the same time a drop in meat, fish and poultry consumption negatively impacted sales somewhat. Mintel projects moderate growth of 3 to 4 percent during 2011-15, with sales reaching $4.4 billion in 2015. As consumer confidence returns and people start to eat more meals away from home, growth will dampen slightly. During 2011-15, this is projected to be an increase of 10 percent after adjusting for inflation.

"With more people staying in and preparing meals at home, we are not surprised to see this category increase," said David Browne, Mintel senior analyst. "However, this sector may see some challenges in the next few years with people starting to eat out more, higher ingredient prices deterring purchases and easy-to-prepare convenience foods like frozen entrées and pre-seasoned meats increasing in the marketplace."

Five segments make up the cooking sauces and marinades market. Dry sauces and other wet sauces are the largest with just more than 26 percent market share each. Ethnic sauces, barbecue sauces and refrigerated/frozen sauces follow with 19 percent, 18 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Eighty-three percent of adults who cook/prepare meals at home said they use sauces/marinades or dry seasonings to prepare a meal at home. Store-bought marinades are most popular with 74 percent of home cooks using them and 51 percent of cooks report using homemade sauces where they combine their own ingredients.

"One-in-four of those who cook at least half of their meals at home, and use store-bought sauces, feel that purity claims like natural, or no additives and preservatives, are important when shopping for sauces and marinades,” Browne said. “Marketers are meeting this need by introducing new products using these claims, and/or reformulating existing products."

According to Mintel GNPD, the aforementioned purity claims along with kosher held the top three ranking claims for cooking sauces and marinades during 2006-10.

Regarding home cooks, 52 percent said they are preparing more meals at home while 64 percent said they enjoy experimenting with new recipes.