Saucy addition

Dolmio meatball sauce is a first in the sauces sector
Dolmio meatball sauce is a first in the sauces sector

Dry and bland food has become a thing of the past with new product development and innovation in the cooking sauce sector, which is valued at €188 million.


Brand Central

17 September 2012

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cooking sauces

At A Glance: Cooking Sauces

  • The sauce market is valued at €188 million
  • Dolmio is Ireland’s leading pasta sauce brand with a 64% market share*
  • Dolmio holds an 80% market share in the lasagne ambient market*

*(Source: Source: AC Nielsen Total Scantrack ROI July 15 2012)

  • The ethnic wet sauce sector is worth €23 million

(Source: Source: AC Nielsen Total Scantrack ROI July 15 2012)

  •  Uncle Ben’s is Ireland’s leader in the ethnic sauce sector with a 21% market share

(Source: Mintel UK)

  • The dry sauce market is valued at €19.6 million

(Source:  A C Nielsen Scantrack MAT 15 July 2012)

Dolmio meatball sauce is a first in the sauces sector

Dolmio meatball sauce is a first in the sauces sector

The cooking sauce sector has continued to grow this year as Irish consumers have decided to spend more time recreating their favourite restaurant dishes at home. On top of coping with tighter purse strings, Irish consumers’ pallets have continued to develop, making them more adventurous with dishes. To combat dry and bland food, companies have focused on bringing a varied range of cooking sauces to shop shelves around the country, which are quick to prepare and cook. It is important to consumers that manufacturers offer the same high quality and flavour restaurants offer but at a fraction of the cost.

Mama mia

Dolmio, from Mars Incorporated, is Ireland’s leading pasta-sauce brand, with 64% market share of Italian sauces*. The Dolmio range has grown in variety and size in recent years offering consumers convenience and authentic Italian flavours. Its best-selling sauce, bolognese, is one in a range of 100% natural sauces which now includes organic bolognese and low fat bolognese for the health conscious consumer. The brand’s range of ‘Authentic Italian’ products brings the flavours of Italy to your kitchen table. The range is based on traditional Italian combinations such as tomato and parmesan and tomato and chianti.

Dolmio aims to revitalise the pasta sauce sector with NPDs, the most recent of which is its meatball sauce. The new range of garden-fresh, tomato sauces are claimed by Dolmio to be perfect to pour over a dish of meatballs, which is becoming increasingly popular with adults and children in Ireland. Judith McQuillan, marketing manager for Dolmio, comments: "Around 44% of consumers eat meatballs at least every three weeks, with over half preparing them with a readymade sauce”. The sauce, which is a first in the sector, has been created to fill a niche market created by consumers looking for an alternative to making their own sauce. The range has been made to offer a thick coating to meatballs and pasta. The new range is available in three variants, tomato and garden vegetable, tomato and basil and for those looking for heat, tomato and chilli. Like Dolmio’s other ranges, the meatball sauce is 100% natural, made from fresh tomatoes and herbs making it appeal to parents and health conscious consumers.

Dolmio has continued to dominate the lasagne ambient market with an 80% share*. It has kept its hold on the sector by offering time-strained consumers handy meal kits that include the original tomato sauce, a creamy béchamel sauce and pasta sheets. The handy meal kits and a smaller jar innovation, has continued to drive new consumers to the established brand. The instant snacking category has also seen Dolmio bring innovation to the cooking sauce arena. Pasta Vita, the new 100% natural and low fat on-the-go Italian sauce and pasta meal range, launched last year. The Pasta Vita range joins Dolmio’s stir in sauces and express sauces as the brand aims to cater for an on-the-go consumer base.

*(Source: AC Nielsen Total Scantrack ROI July 15 2012) 

Uncle Ben’s Indian sauce range has a 34% share of the ethnic sauce sector

Uncle Ben’s Indian sauce range has a 34% share of the ethnic sauce sector

Global flavour explosion

Uncle Ben’s is Ireland’s leader in the ethnic wet sauce sector, which is worth €23 million*. Uncle Ben’s holds a 21% market share** in the ethnic sauce brand. Bord Bia recently reported in its Periscope 6 study that half of Irish consumers use ready prepared ingredients, such as jars of sauce, at least once a week. The Uncle Ben’s range of sauces offers such consumers a variety of different sauces from a cross-section of the globe. The brand’s sauces include Oriental, Mexican and Indian varieties which offer consumers inspiration and a variety of flavours for the whole family at dinner time. 

Uncle Ben’s says its key strength is in its Indian sauce range, that has a 34% share of the sector. The range includes sauces for traditional Indian dishes such as Korma, Tikka Masala and red curry as well as milder alternatives for more timid consumers. Not to be over shadowed its Oriental and Mexican ranges have performed well with consumers looking to experience exotic flavours from the comfort of their own homes.

Uncle Ben’s Oriental range has tapped into a market which has risen by 13% between 2009 and 2011***. Its Oriental flavours include sweet and sour, lemon chicken, Thai chilli sauce and Thai coconut curry. The sweet and sour range has proven popular with a wide spectrum of consumers, available from extra spicy to mild. It is also available in a light version for consumers concerned with calories but who do not want to miss out on vibrant flavour. Uncle Ben’s also travels to South America in search of flavours and inspiration for its Mexican range of cooking sauces. Uncle Ben’s chilli con carne offers consumers an authentic and convenient sauce for the classic dish. The Uncle Ben’s range of cooking sauces are paired with an extensive range of rice which are also available in express versions for on-the-go consumers.

Uncle Ben’s continued success in ethnic sauces and rice has extended to the instant snacking category with the successful launch of Uncle Ben’s Rice Time last year. The new 100% natural and low fat on-the-go lunchtime snack has proven to be popular with the busy working consumers who are looking for quick meals which are easy to prepare. Uncle Ben’s Rice Time has driven strong category growth, with seven varieties to choose from; Medium Curry, Sweet & Sour, Tikka Masala, Mexican chilli, Sweet Thai Chilli, Korma and Cantonese.

Uncle Ben’s chili con carne comes in mild, medium and hot variants

Uncle Ben’s chili con carne comes in mild, medium and hot variants

*(Source: Euromonitor)

**(Source: AC Nielsen Total Scantrack ROI July 15 2012)

***(Source: Mintel UK)






Flavours in the bag

Knorr continues to be the market leader with a 50% market share in the dry sauce sector which is valued at €19.6 million*. It has held on to its hold in the sector through innovation and the rapid growth of its Season and Shake range of dry sauces. Since entering the market in 2010 the range has grown from three variants to 15 and counting. The Season and Shake range includes Mediterranean Chicken and Rustic Chicken with the most recent addition Chicken Nugget Bake-in-Bag seasoning. The Season and Shake range aims to cook meat and vegetables while creating a flavour-filled sauce during the cooking process. The bake-in-bag sector has become a major part of the dry sauce sector accounting for one in ten purchases in the sector*.

Knorr is known for its traditional mealmakers and sauces. The brand’s traditional shepherd’s pie mealmaker and pepper cream sauce continue to be firm family favourites, being purchased by one million consumers in the past year*. Knorr has continued to bring innovation to the sector with its new Season and Steam range. The microwavable bag seasoning is available in three variants, garden herb potatoes, Mediterranean vegetables and creamy herbs for broccoli and cauliflower. The range is marketed as the perfect side dish to accompany Knorr season and shake dishes and traditional mealmaker alternatives. 

*(Source: AC Nielsen Scantrack MAT 15 July 2012)



Sapori Italiani carries an authentic range of Italian pesto and bruschetta sauces

Sapori Italiani carries an authentic range of Italian pesto and bruschetta sauces

From Italy with flavour

Sapori Italiani, which means Italian flavours, is a new company which aims to bring high end authentic Italian flavours to Irish consumers. Founded 18 months ago by James Kennedy, Sapori Italiani is based on a need to share his passion for Italian food with Irish consumers.

Sapori Italiani carries a wide range of Italian products of which the most recent addition is the Costa Ligure, Colombo range. The range based on traditional recipes includes a variety of pesto sauces and bruschetta sauces. The bruschetta sauce available in green olive and sundried tomato variants aim to add fresh flavour to bread and sandwiches. The range of pesto sauce on sale at Sapori Italiani includes traditional pesto as well as a red pesto alternative. Products are available in retail and catering sizes. For more information on the products carried by Sapori Italiani, contact James on 086 8837102 or by email on




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