April seems to be shaping up as the month for new condiment launches as America’s top two condiment companies compete head to head for the attention of health-focused consumers. Less than a week after Unilever’s Hellmann’s brand launched their first ever ketchup product “Hellmann’s REAL Ketchup,” rival brand Kraft-Heinz’ introduced a new mayonnaise product with a similar name – “Heinz REAL Mayonnaise” – along with a social media campaign for their new “Mayochup” product.
As consumers continue to select more all-natural products it seems that both companies want their condiments to be the toppings of choice for the health-focused demographic. Earlier this month, Hellmann’s announced the launch of their all-natural ketchup product that is sweetened with only honey. This new ketchup product is a first for the company who is known for their iconic Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. According to the company, their REAL Ketchup is made from only six ingredients – tomato puree, honey, white wine vinegar, spices, onion powder and salt. In addition, this product has no artificial ingredients, preservatives or GMOs in its formulation. The launch came right on time for National Tomato Day and Hellmann’s celebrated the occasion with a marketing campaign in partnership with Pommes Frites, in which the New York City-based fry shop distributed free fries with Hellmann’s REAL ketchup on the side.
“Over time, food has continued to evolve and it’s time for ketchup to evolve too,” said Russel Lilly, Marketing Director of Hellmann’s in a release. “We saw this as an opportunity to elevate an American staple by stripping it down to only the most essential ingredients. We’re giving people a choice when it comes to feeding themselves and their families with a brand they know and trust.”
However, Kraft-Heinz was not going to let their loyal Heinz Ketchup consumers transition to Hellmann’s that easily. The following Thursday after the big announcement made by Hellmann’s, Kraft-Heinz debuted a full-scale campaign for their new Heinz REAL Mayonnaise product, including an interactive social media campaign for their unique Mayochup product, made with a mixture of Heinz ketchup and Heinz REAL mayonnaise. The social media campaign involved a poll where consumers can vote on whether they want the company to launch their Mayochup condiment. However, the campaign also promoted the fact that consumers can replicate Mayochup by just combining Heinz ketchup and Heinz REAL mayonnaise themselves. In fact, the poll had only two options: “Pass the Heinz Mayochup” or “Nah, I’ll make my own.”
The company found a lot of success with this campaign to boost the awareness of their mayonnaise product, receiving nearly one million consumer responses on social media. About 55 percent of these consumers wanted to try Mayochup which led the company to announce that Mayochup will be launched in the US this year.
“We know people have combined mayonnaise and ketchup for years and they are passionate about its name,” said Nicole Kulwicki, Director of Marketing for Heinz in a release. “That’s why we’re asking America to share their suggestions, to ensure our version of this delicious duo gets the name it deserves.”
Though both Heinz and Hellmann’s are competing in this all-natural market, their business and marketing strategies are definitely up to date with the current consumer demographic. By investing in natural product formulations, both condiment companies are staying ahead of consumer trends as the demand for all-natural food products is most definitely going to include condiments.
In 2016, the market sales for condiments, including sauces and dressings, were $24.4 billion. The market experienced a continuous positive growth with a CAGR of 2.1 percent from 2012 to 2016 and is expected to continue its growth. However, some of this growth can be attributed to the fact that 26 percent of the condiment launches during that period were relaunches, new formulations and packaging. This is indicative of changing consumer preferences when it comes to condiments.
As the retail value for health and wellness condiments continues to rise with 2017 bringing around $2.44 billion in just the US, it is likely that we will see more all-natural condiments in the near future.