Kraft Heinz debuts premium line of sauces and spreads

Dive Brief:

  • Kraft Heinz is launching a new premium line of sauces and spreads under the Heinz 57 banner. They are aimed at consumers looking for culinary ingredients in their cooking at home.
  • The sauces and spreads include Infused Honeys in Hot Chili and Black Truffle varieties, as well as Crunch Sauces available in Chili Pepper Crunch, Roasted Garlic Crunch and Mandarin Orange Miso Crunch. Kraft Heinz said the sweet and savory sauces were inspired by award-winning chefs Lee Wolen and Joe Frillman. 
  • With consumer interest in cooking remaining elevated even as people become more comfortable venturing out, Kraft Heinz and other CPGs are looking to expand their gourmet offerings to give shoppers more choice and convenience.

Dive Insight:

Premium offerings have ballooned in popularity in recent years. When the pandemic started in 2020, specialty ingredients grew in sales as consumers began preparing more meals at home.

The growth has continued even with restaurants reopening. The specialty food category posted $175 billion in sales in 2021, according to a trade group representing the industry. The growth rate of 7.4% last year outpaced 2020’s increase of 5.8%, the Specialty Food Association found, an indication that consumers were more interested in premium offerings despite additional opportunities outside their homes. Shelf-stable sauces were among the fastest-growing specialty food categories.

Kraft Heinz’s decision to expand its sauces and spreads into the specialty arena makes sense, given its commitment to innovation in recent years. The maker of everything from Heinz Ketchup to Oscar Mayer cold cuts said the Heinz 57 collection was created to “empower consumers to uncover new culinary adventures and multi-sensorial experiences at-home and beyond.”

The company showcased its innovation and consumer-focused strategy by debuting its Dip & Crunch two-in-one product in April. The offering, which allows consumers to dip a burger into a sauce and then chips, was inspired by a social media trend. The Dip & Crunch followed Kraft Heinz’s previous sauces blending mayonnaise with ketchup, mustard and barbecue sauce.

Miguel Patricio, Kraft Heinz’s CEO, told investors in 2020 that reformulation and innovation are key priorities of the company’s new strategy, in addition to paying attention to what consumers want. This shift was spurred on by consumers cooking more during the pandemic, which increased demand for its products.

“We’re moving from the days where we didn’t fully take advantage of our impressive size to a business model that fully leverages the scale of Kraft Heinz, one of our strongest competitive advantages,” Patricio said.

Premium lines have been used by brands as a way to access consumers that are willing to pay more for gourmet and experiment with new flavors. Private label brands have adopted them in recent years to offer variety to consumers, such as Target’s Good & Gather line. 

It’s possible that a recession could prompt consumers to cook even more from home versus spending money at restaurants. This could provide a tailwind to inspire further interest in specialty foods.