What Are Condiments and What’s Their Role in Kitchens

Nick Mirev
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    Although the primary objective of food is to deliver nutrients to our body and to keep us satiated, taste and flavor are also important. They can make eating a pleasurable experience. Furthermore, taste buds on our tongues also play an evolutionary role. They helped our prehistoric ancestors determine which plants to eat and which might be dangerous for them. In this article, we’ll share in length what are condiments and what is their role in the restaurant industry and cooking at home. If you’re curious about this topic, you might be interested in reading about restaurant spices or the benefits of eating organic herbs and spices.

    Key takeaway: A lot of people are not sure what are condiments exactly. Condiments for hot dogs like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise are commonly associated with this category. However, anything that is used to enhance the flavor of food during cooking and before eating the meal can be considered to be a condiment. This includes spices, herbs, oils, sauces, and other supplemental food.
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    What Are Condiments

    So what are condiments exactly? A condiment is a type of food that cannot be consumed on its own but is instead added to dishes in order to enhance their flavor. Condiments are used during cooking and afterward. When people wonder what are condiments, the most popular associations include sauces and spices. Other good examples of such food are both seed and no-seed oils. Different cuisines have their own signature condiments. Soy sauce is a good example of a liquid condiment of Chinese origin. Pesto is a traditional Italian sauce made primarily of basil leaves. 

    Some condiments can be found in single-serving packets. The fast food industry often purchases bulk condiments like ketchup and mustard in single-serving packets. 

    Popular and Essential Condiments

    It’s virtually impossible to have a full condiments list as there are thousands of products that can fall under this category. However, while some condiments are used rarely and only in specific cuisines, others are universal. Here’s a list of some essential condiments.

    1. Salt;
    2. Pepper;
    3. Other herbs and spices such as basil, oregano, or cinnamon;
    4. Vinegar;
    5. Olives, olive oil, and other types of vegetable oils;
    6. Ketchup;
    7. Mustard;
    8. Mayonnaise;
    9. Soy sauce;
    10. Hot sauce;
    11. BBQ sauce;
    12. Salsa;
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    The Role of Condiments in Food

    What are condiments’ roles in cooking and eating? Well, their main usage is the most obvious one – they enhance the flavor of certain meals. From salads and main dishes to desserts, they can be used to add additional aftertaste to food.

    In addition to flavoring, condiments can also be used in plating. For example, the typical green color of pesto can be used to plate pasta or other Italian dishes. Dijon mustard sauce can be used for plating certain French dishes. Plating desserts can be done with the help of Karo or maple syrup.

    Customization has become an important part of eating and the food service industry. Clients enjoy when they have the opportunity to customize their own meal and that can easily be achieved with condiments. They can be used in the plating as an optional flavor enhancer.

    Condiments like mayonnaise have the right texture to be used as a binding agent. Dishes like burgers, meatloafs, or potato salads require such ingredients to stay in their optimal shape.

    What Are Condiment Innovations and Trends

    Just like any other sector, the condiment industry is constantly evolving. There are numerous trends and innovations that business owners should consider in order to stay competitive and maximize revenue. Let’s examine what are condiments trends. 

    1. Vegan options. The plant-based food sector is rapidly growing. Increased sales of plant-based milk and dairy-free yogurt alternatives are the best examples of these trends. However, the condiment industry also aims to address this trend through products like vegan salad dressings, mayonnaise, and other products.
    2. New flavors. Customers often wish to try new food from different cuisines. That’s why dishes like sushi or Thai food have become so popular in the past decades. The same trend can be seen in condiments. Customers are increasingly embracing global and ethnic flavors at restaurants and when cooking.
    3. Increase in cooking. Thanks to social media and COVID-19, a lot of people rediscovered cooking. That’s one of the reasons for the growth in the condiments sector.
    4. Increased usage of functional ingredients. Probiotics and superfoods are good examples of ingredients that have become more popular in recent years. Consumers are more likely to buy condiments that have additional health benefits.
    5. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales. E-commerce is not a typical sales channel for condiments. In fact, less than 10% of sales in this sector are done online. However, families and small businesses are looking for ways to support small farmers and local producers. That’s why, instead of partnering with well-known broadline distributors, they might buy certain herbs, spices, or other products from local farmers and small producers.
    6. Incorporation of sustainable practices. Ethical sourcing has become increasingly important in many industries. Other sustainable practices for condiment businesses include the reduction of food waste by home canning products like pickles, eco-friendly spice packaging, and environmental stewardship.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about What Are Condiments

    BlueCart is a software solution that helps wholesalers automate various tasks and business processes. Our team is also committed to helping businesses by sharing useful tips and information on a variety of business-related topics. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what are condiments and what is their role in cooking. If you have read this far, make sure to also check out the answers to some common questions below.

    What Are the Popular Condiment Containers?

    There is a wide variety of containers that are suitable for condiments. Choosing the right container depends on factors such as how perishable the product is and what its texture is. For example, squeeze bottles are among the most popular containers for ketchup and mustard. Salt, pepper, and spice blends are usually stored in shakers and mills. In addition to condiment containers, most households and food service establishments also have organizers and stands. From coffee condiment organizers to pump dispensers, there are multiple options for businesses and families to organize spices and condiments in their kitchens. Restaurants usually purchase both containers and organizers from wholesale restaurant suppliers.

    What Are Examples of Condiments Used by Restaurants?

    Salt and pepper are the most basic and widely used condiments in restaurants. They are used not only in kitchens but are also placed in restaurant condiment caddies on tables. In addition to them, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, and mayonnaise are also used in both recipes and by clients who wish to enhance the flavor of their meals. 

    Restaurants also make different types of condiments. Products like pesto or tomato salsa can be used in the kitchens or as an additional revenue stream similar to the way some restaurants sell canned food.

    How Big Is the Condiments Market?

    Establishing the condiments market’s size is not an easy task. Different researchers and analysts have different approaches when it comes to condiments. If we consider sauces, dressings, and other condiments, the size of the global market is around 10 billion USD. It’s expected to nearly double in the next decade. One of the reasons for its growth is the fact that manufacturers and large brands in the food and beverage industry introduce new products and flavors every year. Another reason why the market has been growing is that people spend more time at home after COVID-19. That has led to more cooking and increased usage of condiments.

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