The condiment market (excluding salad dressing) has experienced consistent growth since 2015. Sales are expected to hit more than $7 billion by 2020, which marks a nearly 6% increase in growth over the last five years. Mintel forecasts similar growth through 2024, estimating the category will reach over $8 billion in the coming years. From spicy flavor profiles to gut-healthy ingredients, condiment manufacturers are varying their offerings to deliver both flavor and functionality to store shelves.

As consumer focus on gut health and achieving a healthy microbiome increases, so do the opportunities for success within the fermented condiments segment. The pickles, olives and relish segment has an opportunity to capitalize on the fermented food buzz. Pickles, olives and relish was 2019’s biggest driver within the condiment category, accounting for 42% of sales, according to Mintel.

Mintel’s 2019 US Flavor and Ingredient Trend reported that along with increased consumer interest in fermented condiments and foods, there needs to be more education from brands on the benefits of these foods. “Brands need to educate consumers on the benefits of fermented condiments, and in ways consumers can incorporate them into different meals via content on social media and brand websites,” says Mintel.

U.S. consumers are gravitating towards spicier condiments. Habanero Chili was the number one ingredient found in new product launches from 2017 to 2020. Other top performers included, Wasabi, Sichuan Pepper, Naga Jolokia Pepper, and Herbs & Spices. “Taste and flavor were the highest reported first and second ranked attributes, with interest in other attributes declining by nearly 50% as the most important attribute after flavor,” reports Mintel.

Mintel’s study suggests that as consumers prioritize flavor and functionality over brand affinity and price, there’s an opportunity for brands to attract new consumers to their products based on taste and ingredients.