2 minutes reading time (419 words)

Are millennials killing mayonnaise?

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Source - CPG Insights

If so, good for us. (Note: opinions here vary.)

But it's likely a broader trend, as US mayonnaise sales have fallen 6.7% over the past 5 years, and more natural, spicier, plant-based sauces have grabbed market share. 

Mayonnaise is still the top-selling condiment in America. But it's under threat from:

  • Declining brand loyalty, which is hitting condiments particularly hard
  • New flavor preferences and the rise of dairy-free, paleo, and other dietary trends
  • Incumbents' slow pace of innovation (see: mayochup)

Condiment makers can strike back by focusing on:

Wellness-focused branding. Consumers today tend to favor products that promise added benefits, rather than those that highlight what's left out (e.g. "added probiotics" vs. "fat-free"). 

Similarly, condiment brands could target shoppers by adding more than just flavor. 

New olive oil startup Brightland, for example, focuses on health and beauty benefits. It emphasizes outcomes, not just ingredients, as we've discussed in more depth here

Plant-based ingredients. Rather than the 1980s strategy of trying to classify ketchup as a vegetable, brands today are trying to put vegetables back into ketchup.

The strategy suits vegan, paleo, and other trending diets, while helping people feel like they're boosting their vegetable consumption.

Just (formerly Hampton Creek) remains a notable player in plant-based condiments despite past struggles; its main innovation has been a plant-based substitute for eggs, which supports vegan mayonnaise. Meanwhile, startup True Made Foods has used veggie-heavy formulas to gain traction at Safeway, ShopRite, and other major retailers. 

50 Less Sugar

Others, like Ozuke and the General Mills-backed Farmhouse Culture, are using fermented vegetables to hop on the probiotic trend.

Classic Caraway

Exotic flavors. Compared to their elders, millennials like spice. 

Sriracha's rise in the mid-2000s proved a major wake-up call for food company executives, who continue to either roll out sriracha products (as have companies ranging from McDonald's to Kellogg's) or loudly proclaim they never will (as did the president of Applebee's on the company's Feb'2018 earnings call, when he listed sriracha alongside quinoa and pomegranate as "polarizing flavors").

But so far, sriracha hasn't found a clear heir.

Instead, condiment startups are taking flavors from a widening range of international backgrounds and adapting them to American habits. 

Startup Yai's Thai, for example, has reformulated Thai curries to suit vegan, gluten-free, and palo diets, while Bandar Foods revamped Indian chutneys to fit in squeezable bottles. 
Authentic Roots
Product crossovers. Greek yogurt leader Chobani just made its first move into condiments, launching squeezable tubes of Greek yogurt that act as a healthier alternative to sour cream. 
 
Chobani Savor
 

Similarly, other food companies could expand into condiments (and I'm not just talking about crushing Cheetos onto mac n' cheese).

For plant protein startups, healthy dessert brands, workout recovery products, and more, condiments could become an interesting new use case for their ingredients.

Stay hungry,

Zoe
@Zoe_Leavitt

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