Sauce innovation spotlights freshness, flavor and clean labels

KANSAS CITY — The market for sauces, dressings and marinades is exploding. Consumer desire for something different in a familiar format is driving product developers to create condiments featuring bolder flavors, but also attributes in tune with today’s consumer trends.

The consumer’s craving for something different was on display at this year’s Winter Fancy Foods Show,

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Freshness is an attribute consumers seek in new products.

“For consumers, refrigerated sauces or dressings without preservatives could be perceived as more fresh than non-refrigerated sauces or dressings,” said Maggie Harvey, new product development manager, Mizkan America, Mount Prospect, Ill. “Consumers may also perceive products with obvious particles of vegetables or fresh spices and herbs in them as more fresh.”

Juliet Greene, corporate chef for Mizkan America, added, “Freshness helps consumers feel like a product is not over-processed. The question we have to ask is how do we keep it as fresh as possible without sacrificing safety?”

Processing technologies like high-pressure processing allow manufacturers to promote freshness without sacrificing safety, Ms. Greene said.

“To me, H.P.P. as a process is the gateway to what other things we can do,” she said.

Siemer Specialty Ingredients, a business unit of Siemer Milling, Teutopolis, Ill., offers heat-treated wheat flour for the processing of sauces, gravies and soups as well as other applications.

Robert Ferguson, senior account executive with Siemer Specialty Ingredients, said food safety is a benefit of the company’s process, but the end product’s clean label profile is in line with the expectations of product developers and consumers.

“Clean label is huge right now,” he said. “It’s very important because it’s not just the consumer that’s demanding it. It’s also product developers.”

An added benefit is heat-treated flour’s clean flavor profile that allows applications to carry seasonings without the need for maskers, said Mr. Ferguson.

To achieve a clean label positioning, sauce, dressing and marinade manufacturers are working to remove a variety of ingredients consumers may perceive as unhealthy or in a negative light.

“Sugar reduction has been an issue,” Ms. Greene said. “People are really trying to find what they can eliminate from their diet; they are becoming more in tune, more aware.

“Many of them are reading labels in an entirely different way now. That’s why companies are trying to remove extra added sugar, extra added ingredients, but still have elevated flavor. People have an expectation that we will make food that tastes great without overly manipulating it.”

This past year Mizkan America’s retail division introduced Ragu Simply, a clean label line of pasta sauces. The sauces are formulated with tomatoes, olive oil, carrots, onions and other ingredients, and have no added sugar or colors and flavors that may be perceived as artificial.

Source: Food Business News

Victoria Dioh