Flavour innovation

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As consumer demands constantly evolve, food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers continue to experiment with new flavours and ingredients to create innovative sauces and condiments

Sauces and condiments are the unsung heroes that transform ordinary food into extraordinary experiences. These versatile flavour enhancers add excitement to dishes, making them indispensable in restaurants and takeaways across the UK. As Ryan Baker, sales manager at Middleton Foods, says: “A squirt, splash or sprinkle of a simple ingredient can really impact the taste of food.”

According to Mintel, the UK condiments and dressings market enjoys near universal usage, with 96% of people using at least one type of product. However, it pin-points flavour innovation as crucial in driving consumer interest and growth, and says 53% of consumers are willing to pay more for products with new and innovative flavours. With this in mind and with profit margins tightening for fish and chip shop owners, encouraging customers to add a condiment or sauce by enticing them in with something new can significantly boost your bottom line. Plus, it’s a great way to tap into ongoing trends without needing a complete overhaul of a menu.

Responding to this demand is Drywite with its timely launch of HG Lee All-in-One Spice Mixes and Flavoured Non-Brewed Condiments. 

Available in six varieties, All-in-One Spice Mixes are designed to be shaken over fries or wedges, giving customers a whole new flavour experience. Salt & Vinegar, for example, promises to keep fries crispy whilst delivering the classic chip shop taste, whilst Salt & Pepper gives a sweet and savoury flavour with a punch of spice. At the other end of the spectrum, for customers that like heat, flavour and aroma, there is Piri Piri Hot. 

“The advantage of our All-in-One Spice Mixes,” says Lee Kesterton, sales manager at Drywite, “is that they are multi-functional. As well as shaking them on chips and wedges, you can rub them into meat and chicken, and add some to a little oil to make a marinade for fish. You can even add them to smashed burgers, boiled potatoes and salads. They extend the menu and open up a world of opportunity.”

Its product development team have certainly been busy, also creating a premium range of four Flavoured Non-Brewed Condiments. “These are perfect for high-end operators looking to elevate their fish, chips, salad dressings and sauces,” says Lee. Available in 250ml bottles, the range includes Original, Cider Apple, Pickled Onion, and Spiced, all of which are naturally gluten free. 

There’s one final condiment to come out of the Drywite NPD department and that is Extra Salty Non-Brewed Condiment. “There’s no need to put salt on chips because it’s already in our condiment vinegar,” says Lee. Available in 315ml squeezy bottles, it was initially developed in response to a request from a customer in Scotland who wanted something a little more salty. Since hitting the shelves, Drywite has found itself producing more and more. “It’s really taken off,” says Lee. 

As well as flavour, consumers are on the lookout for quality, with Middleton’s Ryan Baker adding: “Whatever the accompaniment, high-quality sauces deliver a high-quality taste, which adds to the eating experience.”

This is a trend that lends itself well to Middleton’s new Kings Heritage Premium Curry sauce. Described as being a harmonious sweet and savoury mix, it offers well-balanced layers of classic spices, finishing with a warm back note – tempting customers to come back for more time after time.

Ryan believes operators can benefit massively from using quality readymade products, particularly with the pressure of busy, high-footfall shops. He adds: “The result is the same as sauces which have been made from scratch, just far more convenient. Preparation time is reduced, there’s no need to stock a range of fresh ingredients, stock can easily be controlled and importantly, costs can easily be managed. What’s more, it ensures consistency – so time after time, the taste and quality remain the same. This is important when keeping customers happy and helps contribute towards securing repeat custom.”

Bought in sauces can also be combined and added to to create fun twists on traditional flavours. Tom Styman-Heighton, development chef at Funnybones Foodservice, offers some ideas, adding:  “Simply mix one part mayo and two parts Funnybones’ Rio Pacific jalapeno jelly for a spicy dip, two parts mayo and three parts Rio Pacific redpepajam for some red-hot chilli mayo, or equal parts mayo and Rio Pacific buffalo wing sauce to take the edge off this punchy dip while creating a creamy texture in one swoop.”

As well as global food trends, using sauces and seasonings in this way helps operators access specific localised dishes too. Tom suggests operators try a Mexican-isation of a meal by incorporating Al Pastor or Cochinita Rio Pacific Mexican seasonings. Tom adds: “With notes of chilli, pineapple, and achiote, Al Pastor brings an earthy, smoky taste to dishes, while Cochinita is punctuated with sweet orange juice, achiote, and charred garlic to result in a vibrant colour.”

If you want to stand out and offer something that is unique, Stelios Theocharous, managing director at ingredients supplier Ceres, recommends investing the time and experimenting with some homemade ideas. “Homemade does involve a little more skill and time, but the result is a unique product that increases customer loyalty, boosts turnover and enhances profits,” he says. 

With a catalogue of sauce and condiment recipes available on its website ranging from Japanese curry sauce to a spicy sriracha ketchup to an Indian-inspired curry mayonnaise, Stelios adds: “The great thing about homemade is the flavour is in the operator’s hands. We’ve got a fantastic Thai Chilli Sauce recipe, for example, that beats anything you can buy off the shelf. Whether you crave mild warmth or a zesty kick or you prefer it sweet or with a sharp tang, you can play around with the chilli quantities or the sugar to get a flavour profile that works for you.”

Whether sticking to classic favourites or venturing into global and innovative creations, whether saving time and buying ready made or rolling your sleeves up and creating your own, sauces and condiments will always have a place in a fish and chip shop. 

Ceres 0845 3711 522 www.ceres.shop

Drywite 01384 569556 www.drywite.co.uk

HG Lee www.hglee.co.uk

Funnybones Foodservice 01707 321321 www.funnybones.co.uk

Middleton Foods 01902 608122 www.middletonfoods.com

Dip or drizzle with Lingham’s Chilli Sauce

Coming all the way from Malaysia courtesy of ASCO Foods is Lingham’s Chilli Sauce, a range of authentic chilli sauces made with over 100 years of tradition and perfection.

Officially known as the house sauce of J D Wetherspoon, the condiment is described as being “well balanced”, and makes a perfect dipping sauce or can be drizzled over fried food. Available in 280ml bottles in five varieties including Extra Hot, Ginger, and Garlic, the range is made without any additives and is ready to purchase from T.Quality. 
T. Quality 0330 1243707 www.tquality.co.uk

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