Sauce products have added color, flavor and texture to everything from savory salads to sweet desserts for centuries. Today, as consumers continue to seek inexpensive ways to enhance recipes, product developers and chefs create new ethnic and regional sauces that deliver bold flavor and meet a variety of dietary needs.
In the September 2011 issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), editor Karen Nachay examines the history, economics and popularity of the food enhancer that most chefs and home cooks rely on.
Sauce Across Centuries:
Sauce products have been traced as far back as between 1400 and 1700, with the introduction of new ingredients, preparations and processing methods. Today, demand is up for sauces, which is driving sales: the global market for sauce is expected to reach $72 billion by 2015.
While hot sauces, regional barbecue sauces, spicy and sweet Asian sauces and Indian simmer sauces are all staples in most restaurants and grocery stores, product developers work to balance consumer demand for flavor with a desire to help the millions of children and adults who suffer from food allergies or food intolerances.
Sauce Across Cuisines:
Product developers, home cooks and professional chefs all use sauces to achieve a similar end result: to add a uniqueness or flavor to a dish or product in a subtle or substantial way.
According to industry experts at Mintel Group Ltd, the popularity of sauces is not expected to slow down any time soon. 83 percent of adults who cook at home use cooking sauces and marinades when preparing meal and 74 percent use store-bought sauces and marinades.
Sauces Across Cultures:
Butter and cream sauces first gained popularity in Europe and America as a result of French culinary influence and over many years, sauce has evolved to reflect a number of flavors, cuisines and cultures.
As ethnic cuisine grows in popularity The Center for Culinary Development (CCD) has identified seven sauces that have been recently introduced as restaurant menu offerings, packaged product prototypes and finished packaged goods.
These sauces, which encompass a variety of flavors, all reflect cuisine from different countries.
• Poutine is a popular Canadian dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy.
• Gastrique is a thick sauce, made from a French reduction of sugar and vinegar, served with meat dishes often prepared with fruit.
• Romesco is a Spanish sauce made from roasted red peppers, almonds, olive oil and garlic with roots in the Catalan region of Spain.
• Harissa is a spicy chili paste that often accompanies couscous in African dishes.
• Chimichurri is an Argentinean herb sauce made from olive oil, garlic and salt, often served on grilled meat or fish.
• Sriracha is a hot sauce commonly known as “rooster sauce” from the icon on its bottle and pairs well with Asian food, especially Thai dishes.
• Aioli is a garlic mayonnaise available everywhere from fast food outlets to fine dining restaurants and is often flavored with lemon, herbs or chili peppers.
Read the full Food Technology article