Spending an afternoon over a smoky backyard grill is a favorite pastime of many Americans– just ask the 79% of U.S. adults that own a grill. Flavor is king when it comes to the top motivators behind purchasing a grill, followed by convenience and entertainment. Although the flame may be the same, the products that are being seared (and how they’re being topped) on backyard barbecues are changing; 2019 has already witnessed the emergence of plant-based meat into the mainstream, and with it, a consumer desire for bold new condiments and packaging.

Mintel reports that 32% of U.S. consumers enjoy experimenting with different flavors and foods when grilling. New dishes call for new sauces and this is especially true when it comes to the new plant-based meat alternatives we’re seeing on shelves across the country. Brands have an opportunity to capitalize on complementary flavors that may be lacking in meatless barbecue fare; for instance, replicating the ‘smoky’ flavor of beef with a gourmet burger sauce or using a pesto-mayo to subtly flavor grilled vegetables.

So, which demographic is leading the charge toward new, bold flavors? “57% of U.S.18-24 years old want to see a wider variety of burger sauces, compared to 47% of all U.S. burger consumers,” states Mintel. While restaurants are keen to dress burgers with a variety of bold condiments and toppings, grocers have fallen behind in their burger-specific sauce offerings. Translating the success burger restaurants are having to the at-home experience is an open playing field for brands looking to develop new products. Take Williams Sonoma Burger Booster, for example; the product comes in three flavors, Chipotle Bacon, Barbecue, or Roasted Garlic Caramelized Onion and can be used as a filling or topping.

Modernizing traditional condiments is another way to make mealtime more exciting. Consumers are not only looking for new flavor profiles, but new and improved options for old favorites. “59% of U.S. consumers say they purchase condiments to make foods more exciting, and mustard can do a better job of communicating its natural zing through more engaging packaging,” reports Mintel. New graphics and humorous advertising are just a few of the ways that brands, new and old, can target consumers looking for a little more personality in the condiments they use.

The summer cookout promises to hold several surprises in the coming years as consumers look to tantalize their taste buds in new ways. In conjunction, sauce and condiment brands have a big opportunity to capitalize on consumer interest in new meatless grilling alternatives.

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