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A 12.4 per cent drop in brown sauce sales is part of a wider malaise, as dishes like full English breakfasts are being dumped by millennials with more exotic tastebuds.
A new, sauce-savvier generation counts flavours such as peri-peri a part of modern British cuisine, according to The Grocer magazine.
Pam Digva, who founded Sauce Shop with her husband James in 2014, said: “There is always space on the plate for ketchup but I’m afraid brown sauce just doesn’t go with a lot of the food people eat these days.
“People are more likely to be enjoying avocados on toast or shakshuka for breakfast rather than a fry-up – and they’re eating spicier sauces with them.
“Our brown sauce is absolutely delicious but it isn’t as popular as Scotch bonnet jam.”
Pam believes a lockdown surge in takeaway orders, coupled with more adventurous home cooking, exposed palates to broader flavours, including buffalo hot sauce.
Chef Sohini Banerjee, who has her own chutney range, said friends were opting for more versatile relishes over those associated with one meal.
But she insisted every store cupboard should have a bottle of HP.
She said: “It’s got a bit of tamarind, a bit of sugar. Often I’ll reach for it if I’m looking to add a bit of sweetness or saltiness to a meal, such as a pasta sauce.
“If a dish needs an umami [savoury] kick, I’m willing to use a brown sauce or ketchup.”
A future problem for ketchup is also the threat to processing tomato crops caused by climate change, which could halve the harvest this century.
Researchers have created a mathematical model to see how different climate scenarios would affect tomato production.
Lead author Dr Davide Cammarano, of Aarhus University, Denmark, said: “It is likely more water will be needed to keep a profitable production in the future.
“This has important implications because water is something that is going to be less available for agriculture in some areas.”
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