Most Common Types of Condiments from Around the World

Nick Mirev
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    Ever since ancient times, people have been searching for ways to make food more flavorful. That’s why in the past salt was one of the main commodities as it was used to add taste and to preserve food. When it comes to condiments for food, every cuisine has its distinct products. In the West, we associate this term with goods like ketchup and other sauces. However, herbs and restaurant spices can also be considered as types of condiments. In this article, we’ll showcase the main types of condiments in the US and other regions of the world. If you’re interested in the condiment niche market, check out our article on restaurant condiment holders as well.

    Key takeaway: There are hundreds of different types of condiments. Each cuisine has its own distinct ways of flavoring food. Some condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise have become high-demand products worldwide.
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    Main Categories of Condiments

    Food products that are used to flavor dishes to taste and can also be used during the cooking process. That’s the main definition of condiments. If we follow that description, here are the main categories of this industry.

    1. Sauces. They come in various textures. For example, ketchup is semi-liquid and is usually packaged in squeeze bottles. On the other hand, there are liquid sauces like Worcester or soy sauce.
    2. Seasonings. They are usually made from herbs or vegetables. Crushed red pepper flakes or garlic powder are good examples. Salt and pepper fall under this category as well.
    3. Sweet condiments. They can be used to flavor not only food but also beverages. Sugar is a good example of a condiment for coffee and cocktails. Other popular sweet condiments include maple syrup and fruit preserves like jam and jelly.
    4. Seed and vegetable oils. Olive oil is often used as salad dressing. In recent years, the consumption of the widely popular palm oil has shrunk as a lot of people are switching to healthy alternatives like walnut, sesame seed, or avocado oil.
    5. Relish and salsa. There are many varieties of raw, cooked, or pickled relish products. Pickle relish is a good example of a popular type of condiment.

    Popular Types of Condiments in the US

    People in the US love condiments. They give them the opportunity to flavor meals and make them more juicy. Let’s examine some of the most common types of condiments in the US.

    1. Ketchup. This sweet and sour table condiment is among the most popular food products in the world. It’s extensively used in the restaurant industry and has strong D2C sales.
    2. Mayonnaise. It’s commonly used not only as a condiment but also as an ingredient in salad dressings, dips, and marinades.
    3. Mustard. There are multiple varieties of mustard. Most of them are hot and slightly bitter while others (like the Bavarian mustard) can be sweet.
    4. Barbecue sauce. It’s often used to marinate meat before cooking it on a barbecue. This sauce can be an excellent condiment to burgers and other dishes.
    5. Hot sauce. From the popular Sriracha and Tabasco to less-known options, there’s a wide variety of hot sauces in the US. They come in different grades and have different strengths. When it comes to hot sauces, it’s important to mention that a lot of brands specialize in this type of condiment. They make their own blends and offer products via eCommerce platforms.
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    Popular Types of Condiments in Asian Cuisine

    Although the following products are of Asian origin, many of them have become popular in the US and other parts of the world as well.

    1. Soy sauce. It’s primarily associated with East Asian countries like China and Japan but is part of other cuisines as well.
    2. Sriracha. This chili sauce that originated in Thailand has become very popular in the US in recent years.
    3. Fish sauce. It’s made of fermented fish and salt. This type of condiment is used to flavor curries, stir-fries, soups, and other dishes.
    4. Sesame oil. It’s commonly used in cooking and flavoring different dishes. Its nutty and rich flavor makes it a common cooking oil in various Asian cuisines.
    5. Kimchi. Made from fermented vegetables, this Korean condiment is known for its spicy-sour and is often served as a side dish.

    Popular Types of Condiments in Europe

    It’s important to note that most types of condiments used in the US are of European origin. That includes products like mustard and mayonnaise that we already mentioned in this post. Let’s see some additional condiments that you’re likely to find in European cuisines.

    1. Pesto. This Italian paste can be used as a salad dressing or to flavor pasta dishes.
    2. Tzatziki. This Greek dish can be used as a salad or as a dip too.
    3. Zigeuner sauce. It’s made of tomatoes, chopped meat, mushrooms, and other ingredients.
    4. Tapenade. It's often used as a spread made of puréed olives and other ingredients like capers and anchovies.
    5. Aioli. It literally means “garlic and oil”. A lot of aioli recipes include additional ingredients such as mayonnaise, mustard, or egg yolks.
    6. Whisky sauce. It’s a good example of a condiment in Scottish cuisine. Combining it with barbecue sauce results in whisky barbeque sauce. 
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    Frequently Asked Questions about the Different Types of Condiments

    Business owners and restaurant managers can benefit from offering different types of condiments in their establishments. This will help customers enjoy their meals better. Furthermore, some condiments like hot sauces can increase the appetite and might result in higher order values. You can find a lot of useful information like this in articles by the BlueCart team. Our company aims to help wholesalers better serve their customers and businesses find suppliers with ease. Below are the answers to the popular questions regarding condiments.

    How Many Different Types of Condiments Exist?

    There are hundreds of different condiments. Every cuisine and every region around the world has its own distinct ways of adding flavor to food. That’s why it’s not really possible to say how many types of condiments exist. Even among market researchers, there are disputes on what are condiments exactly. Some consider only sauces to be part of this food group. However, others believe that there is a difference between sauce and condiment and that sauces are only one subcategory of the sector. Generally speaking, most people associate condiments with sauces such as ketchup and mayonnaise. The broad definition of condiments is food products that are used to add flavor to food after its cooking. That’s why spice blends, no-seed oils, and sweet preserves like jam are considered to be condiments as well.

    What Are the Trends in the Condiments Market?

    In recent years, there has been significant growth in the hot sauce sector. A lot of new condiment businesses have started manufacturing other specialty sauces as well. The focus on healthier and sustainably-grown products can be noticed in the condiments industry as well. Sales of organic herbs and spices have increased in recent years.

    Condiments are commonly associated with the fast food industry. That’s why they often come in convenient containers such as single-serve packets or squeeze bottles. As our lifestyle changes, convenience in packaging is likely to be an ongoing trend in this market.

    What Are the Different Condiment Containers?

    Squeeze bottles are the most common containers for sauces. They are popular for ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, and certain dressings like ranch. Single-serve packets can be used for all types of condiments. From sauces to salt and pepper. Restaurants often purchase bulk condiments in order to benefit from wholesale prices. That’s why they need containers that can easily be refilled. Pump dispensers and glass bottles are good examples of such. It’s important to keep in mind that the container strongly depends on the type of condiment. For example, when it comes to salt and pepper, shakers and mills are the most widely used containers.

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