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The Hidden Ingredients in Condiments That Consumers Often Overlook

We know that eating anything in excess is not recommended for our health. This holds true for things like sugar, salt, calories, fat, and others. And while consumers may think they are leading a healthy diet by only eating better-for-you choices, what would happen if we opened their cupboards? Would the contents reflect the level of health and wellness they are trying to embody?

Our Sensory & Consumer Insights Division did a study where they entered people’s homes in Mexico to see if what was in their kitchens matched their health aspirations. What we discovered in this Mexico Study was quite interesting. Consumers had a sense of “control” over their intake of calories and sugar, but their kitchen storage often told a different story. They rationalized the presence of less-than-healthy foods and beverages by explaining that they only have them occasionally, or that they offset their consumption of them by eating a balanced diet.

But what about all the condiments in bottles and containers that you often overlook? They often have a surprising number of hidden sugars that many people do not account for. Sugars can be labeled as dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, and more. And what about serving sizes? Do people really portion out the amount of ketchup they use to dip their fries in?

BBQ sauce has an average of 4 to 6 grams of sugar, while ketchup usually contains around 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Lower-fat salad dressing tends to use sugar and salt to compensate for flavor loss when removing fat from oils.

According to Healthline, if you love ketchup and have 4–5 tablespoons with a single meal, you could consume 35% or more of the daily value for sugar from the ketchup alone.

So why is it that most consumers love condiments so much?

Flavor Enhancement: Condiments can add depth, complexity, and intensity to the taste of a dish.  

  •  Sweegen’s Sweetensify™ Flavors helps balance sweet/sour profiles in reduced sugar condiments that traditionally use sugar and vinegar/acid as the backbone (think: ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings).

  •  Our proprietary flavor technology can help boost the umami notes in some condiments to provide a fuller taste experience (think: tomato-based products like ketchup and BBQ sauce).

Customization: Condiments allow people to customize their food to suit their personal preferences by facilitating unique flavor combinations. Whether something needs a little more vinegar or creaminess, there’s a condiment for that.

Visual Appeal: People eat with their eyes. Condiments can elevate the visual appeal of a dish by adding color and contrast. A drizzle of sriracha sauce, for example, can make a plate of sushi more visually appealing. 

Tradition and Nostalgia: Many people use condiments because they have grown up with them and have nostalgic connections to certain flavors and combinations (think: tater tots, chicken nuggets and wings)

As consumers become increasingly aware of the negative side effects of sugar, fat, and salt, there is growing interest in replacing it with better options in sauces, dressings, condiments, and ready-to-serve sauces. The key is finding the right balance between sweetness perception, nutritional value, great taste, and functionality, while reducing the unappetizing acidity often required for shelf stability.

At Sweegen, we know health is the new wealth, which is why our global team of Taste Blazers created Sweetensify™ Flavors. Leave those added sugars behind and move toward a healthier future with delicious-tasting products that are kind to the body.

Adding Sweetensify™ Flavors helps you reduce silent sugars, balance acidity, and create the full-bodied sweetness that consumers expect from their favorite condiments. 

Let's cut sugar and get more flavor with Sweegen's Sweetensify™ Collection.

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