Elaine Underwood, managing director of Sharwood’s Foods, gives her opinion

The cooking sauce market is stimulated by high demand for convenience and a grow-ing interest in different cuisines.

Taste is key, and we have found that this is usually defined by country and cuisine, and the level of pungency.

The broad diversity of flavours, reinforced by familiar brand names, ensure cooking sauces command substantial shelf space. This leads to a high rate of sale and cross-purchasing, as consumers choose between different varieties and brands.

Advertising levels are not as high as in some other categories because manufacturers devote more of the marketing budget to in-store promotional activity, in order to drive sales at point of purchase.

Shoppers like to browse in-store and seek inspiration and simple meal solutions.

Linked promotions are highly successful. Sharwood’s promotions drive purchase both within the market and in other categories: for example, a price reduction on ready-to-eat Naan bread with a Balti StirFry sauce.

Retailers support this type of activity, as there is a benefit for both them and their shoppers in extending experimentation across the cuisine. It builds extra sales, rather than just taking value out of the sector with price promotion.

As for the future – there will be a greater movement towards flavour and recipe specialisation; travel will influence choice with Goan and Thai-inspired sauces coming to the fore during 1996.

Growth and innovation will continue to flourish because there is a real consumer demand for value, ease of use and accessible, interesting sauces.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here