The global market for sauces, a sub-segment of the condiments and seasonings market, is growing rapidly, with a forecast increase from US$63 billion to US$80 billion by 2024, at a rate of 5.1%. In France, the national sauce production market has been growing at an average annual rate of 2%. Despite this growth, France relies heavily on imports to meet demand, with a coverage rate of just 44% in 2020. The market is characterized by different types of sauces, with a notable presence of organic and natural options reflecting consumer trends towards healthier products. The main players are Kraft Heinz and Unilever, who hold significant market shares in France and worldwide.

The COVID-19 crisis in 2020 led to a rise in sauce consumption in France, particularly for hot sauces, in correlation with the increase in pasta sales. Sales of cold sauces rose by 10%.

Overall, consumers are showing a growing preference for sauces that offer health benefits without compromising taste, a trend reflected in the evolution of sauce manufacturers' offerings.

The French sauces market: changing consumer preferences and growing demand

When it comes to culinary accompaniments, sauces play an essential role in enhancing flavors and adding variety to everyday meals. In France, the sauces market, a distinct sub-segment of condiments and seasonings, has experienced significant growth and diversification. The French sauces market has grown steadily over the years, reaching a value of between €615 and €630 million.

Demand for sauces on the French market can be divided into two categories: cold sauces and hot sauces. A substantial increase in sales was observed in 2020, topping the billion euro mark, with cold sauces alone accounting for sales of around 585 million euros. This increase is attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which changed consumer habits in favor of meals-on-wheels and food deliveries.

Cold sauces, which had been relatively stagnant in recent years, enjoyed renewed growth in 2020. The variety of sauces, such as barbecue, burger, béarnaise and tartar sauces, saw an impressive growth rate of around 18%. The cold sauces most purchased by the French in supermarkets and hypermarkets are snack and barbecue sauces (22%), culinary sauces (11.5%) and ketchup (12%).

On the other hand, the hot sauces segment, which includes sauces for starch-based dishes and culinary bases, also saw significant growth due to the increase in pasta sales linked to containment measures. This segment grew by 12%, reaching 666 million euros in 2020. Traditional meat-based sauces declined in favor of healthier alternatives such as pesto, which saw a remarkable and steady increase, aligning with the rise of flexitarian and vegan dietary trends.

The composition of the sauces market reflects consumers' desire for quality, flavor, health and convenience. French consumers are increasingly attracted to organic, natural and less processed sauces, with a growing demand for products low in sugar, salt or fat. The industry has adapted to these preferences by introducing organic ketchups, plant-based mayonnaise variants and reduced-fat dressings.

Despite a clear preference for homemade sauces among some French consumers, the ease of use and variety offered by manufactured sauces is a competitive advantage. The sauces market continues to innovate, with manufacturers launching new flavors and products that respond to the changing palates of the French population, combining tradition with new tastes.

Dominating the market, international giants Kraft Heinz and Unilever boast a vast portfolio of sauces, satisfying the preferences of the most diverse palates and maintaining notable positions in both traditional and emerging market segments.

  • Unilever, with its iconic Amora and Maille brands, holds a leading position, particularly in cold sauces. Amora, a brand deeply rooted in French culinary culture, is particularly renowned for its mustards and mayonnaises, for which it dominates sales with enviable market shares. Maille, meanwhile, brings a touch of sophistication and a wide range of mustards and other gourmet condiments, aimed at consumers seeking superior flavor and quality.
  • Kraft Heinz brings American culinary influence to the French market, notably with its global Heinz brand. This brand is synonymous with ketchup, and is known for leading the segment through innovation and flavor diversity. In addition, Kraft Heinz enriches the French sauce landscape with Bénédicta, a local brand that caters to French tastes with an assortment of white and varied sauces.

Alongside these giants, a number of notable French brands are also making their mark.

  • Lesieur, from the Avril group, are appreciated for their quality. With its emphasis on local production and sustainable practices, Lesieur appeals to environmentally conscious consumers.
  • Panzani, under the wing of Spain's Ebro group, competes effectively by focusing on hot sauces such as pestos and pasta sauces that capitalize on the French love of Italian culinary traditions. As trends shift towards vegetarian and healthier options, Panzani adapts, emphasizing flavor and health in its sauce offerings.

Finally, the sauces segment would not be complete without mentioning the small artisanal players and private labels that add to the diversity, offering localized and niche products that cater to specific tastes and preferences. These small companies often emphasize natural ingredients and organic certifications, responding to growing consumer demand for healthy products. Collectively, these major players in the sauces market orchestrate a gastronomic symphony in the French retail space, each with their own unique strategies, product offerings and innovations, while balancing the desire for indulgent flavors with health-conscious trends. Whether spicing up a simple home-cooked meal or elevating a person's health, sauces are an essential element of French gastronomy

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  • Last update : 12/11/2021
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

A sauce is a liquid or semi-liquid preparation that accompanies certain dishes. There are many different types of sauce, and in this study we will distinguish between hot and cold sauces. We will focus on the retail market for sauces, although out-of-home catering is also a customer for sauce manufacturers, as is the food industry for intermediate consumption.

The sauces market is a sub-segment of the condiments and seasonings market, and mainly comprises :

  • tomato-based sauces (ketchup, bolognese, etc.) and soy sauces
  • emulsified sauces (mayonnaise, salad dressing, etc.)
  • ready-made sauces (béarnaise, etc.)
  • vinaigrette sauces
  • prepared mustards

On a global scale, the market is growing fast and is marked by a wide range of products. It is dominated by the two groups Kraft Heinz and Unilever, which own numerous brands.

In France, the value of sauce production by companies on French soil has been growing at an average annual rate of 2% since 2016.

Nevertheless, France relies on exports from foreign countries to meet domestic demand. In 2020, sauce sales in France saw strong growth of around 15.7% on 2019. The two groups Kraft Heinz and Unilever are present in France via French brands such as Benedicta and Amora-Maille .worldwide , the sauces market is expected to grow strongly between 2022 and 2027, with a compound growth rate of 4. 9%[Industry reports].

Organic and natural trends are not escaping the sauces market, which remains highly competitive in France with new recipes launched frequently.

List of charts

  • Size of the global sauces market
  • Size of the sauces market in France
  • Structure of sauce production
  • Market share of distribution channels in the hot sauce retail trade
  • Sauce price index
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Latest news

Barilla loses the second round of the cookie war - 02/04/2024
  • Date of the Beginning of the Affair: June 2023 - Barilla asks the Court of Brescia to prohibit the sale of nine types of cookies by the Tedesco and Sapori Artigianali companies for excessive similarity to its own products.
  • First Degree of Judgment: February 2024 - The Court partially grants Barilla's requests, banning the sale of certain products and the use of certain packaging due to their similarity to Mulino Bianco's products and packaging.
  • Second Degree of Judgment: March 18, 2024 - The Court of Brescia dismisses Barilla's complaint and accepts the claims of the Tedesco and Sapori Artigianali companies.
  • Arguments of the Reversal of the Judgment:
    • Volgarization of Shape Marks: The shape of the cookies in question is now considered so common that it is no longer distinctive of a particular manufacturer.
    • Packaging Disputed: Despite similarity, Tedesco's packaging is not considered likely to create undue confusion or associations with Barilla's due to the prevalence of common elements in the industry.
    • Urgency of the Proceedings: The court rejects the urgency requested by Barilla for intervention, noting that Barilla was aware of the sale of the "similar" products as early as 2016.
  • Implications for the Industry: This case highlights the importance of distinctiveness and originality in product and packaging design in an overcrowded market. It also shows the legal and business challenges in protecting these aspects in competitive environments.
Barilla launches "Accordions": six years of research for a brioche perfect for dunking - 26/03/2024
  • Research and development period: 6 years, started in 2018.
  • Production facility: Melfi, Basilicata.
  • Investment: Over 30 million euros in the last 3 years in the Melfi plant, with investments dedicated to both sustainability and innovation, including the creation of production lines for Pancakes and Fisarmoniche.
  • Sugar content: Accordions has -35% sugar compared to the average of best-selling snacks.
  • Calorie content: 120 kcal/piece.
  • Plant production capacity: Maximum capacity of 83,000 tons/year.
  • Number of employees in Melfi: More than 350.
  • Quality checks: More than 5,000 checks on finished products and 200 on raw materials per day.
  • Environmental savings over the past 10 years: 40% water savings and 27% reduction in CO2 emissions.
  • Total number of Mulino Bianco references: Over 130, which include cookies, snacks, and breads.
  • Italians' preference for dunking: 6 out of 10 Italians like to dunk snacks or cookies for breakfast.
  • Ingredients: Without coloring and preservative additives or palm oil. Contains 4% fiber.
  • Plant size: 202,000 m^2.

Price reduction by Barilla: 7% to 13%.

  • Products involved: Spaghetti No. 5, most of the pasta assortment, Mulino Bianco products (cookies, snacks, rusks, breads) and some Pavesi items (such as Gocciole)
  • Duration of the promotion: until December 31, 2024
  • Rationale: Extraordinary operation to reduce transfer prices to direct customers and distributors, achieved by lowering contract prices on a significant basket of products
  • Other strategic initiatives of Barilla: investments along its supply chains, in production sites, focus on research and development of new technologies, innovation with new product launches, communication campaigns, continuous collaboration with partners operating in the distribution sector
Meatless meals: Lesieur puts its plant-based cooking at the heart of meals - 08/10/2023
  • Lesieur was created in 1908. Lesieur was acquired by the Avril Group in 2022.
  • Lesieur aims to capture 5% of the vegetable market within two years.
  • Growth in the vegetal market is 5%.
  • The plant-based market represents some 430 million euros, and includes sales of plant-based beverages, ultra-fresh products and fresh delicatessen products.
  • Lesieur plans to launch new recipes in 2024 and 2025.
Mutti, champion of tomato sauce - 05/07/2023
  • The Mutti Group, European market leader in tomato by-products, achieved sales of 563 million euros in 2022, up 16% on the previous year.
  • The group processed some 60,000 tonnes of tomatoes.
  • For the first time, the group's export volumes exceeded those sold in Italy.
  • The Mutti subsidiary in France has been in existence for 10 years.
  • Mutti's sales in France are expected to reach 56 million euros in 2022, up 24% on the previous year.
  • California is the world's leading producer of tomatoes for the industry, followed by China, with a production of 9 million tons, and Italy, with a production of 6 million tons.
  • Worldwide tomato consumption is growing by around 2% a year.
  • The tomato industry is forecasting a 60% increase in costs by 2022
  • . The price of tomatoes rose by 65% in 2023, to 150 euros per tonne. The price of Mutti products in stores rose by around 10% in 2022.
Lesieur bets on 100% plant-based ready meals - 28/06/2023
  • Lesieur, a company over 100 years old, enters the plant-based meal market with the Ma Popote brand
  • Objective: to conquer the fast-growing plant-based market.
  • The plant-based market has grown by 5% in two years and is currently estimated at over 427 million euros, two-thirds of which is generated by fresh produce.
  • The Avril Group, home to Lesieur, acquired Vivien Paille in 2022, a company specializing in vegetables, cereals and rice.
  • With the edible oil market in decline, Lesieur sees Ma Popote as a growth driver.
  • The company forecasts that the vegetable market will account for 5% of its sales in two years' time.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Kraft Heinz
Ebro Foods Group
Amora Maille
Lesieur (Avril Groupe)
Benedicta (groupe Kraft Heinz)
Italians do it Better (Avril Groupe)
Sauces & Créations

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