Indian sauces and condiments on a growth trajectory

India’s sauces and condiments are steadily growing their share in the global market, with a focus on exports. In recent years, the country has seen a surge in the export of sauces, including soy sauce, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and mixed seasonings.

This highlights a growing trend in preference for Indian producers in this segment. The export growth is complemented by the nation’s rich spice sector, which has contributed substantially to the economy. 

Despite the strong growth rate, India is still ranked 35th in global exports, which shows the strong potential for further expansion. IBT looks at the potential of this sector and strategies for tapping this potential.


Image source: Pixabay

The category of sauces and condiments encompasses a diverse range of supplementary ingredients that enhance the flavor, aroma, and overall culinary experience of food. In the context of India, this category includes several subcategories.

Spices and herbs are fundamental elements in Indian cuisine, providing a rich and complex flavor profile to various dishes. Common examples include turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and fenugreek, among others. On the other hand, seasonings refer to a variety of flavor-enhancing ingredients, from the essential salt and pepper to various blends of spices that are specifically designed to complement different types of cuisine.

Sauces play a crucial role in Indian cooking, adding moisture, richness, and depth to dishes. These can include traditional Indian sauces like curry sauces, as well as international sauces that have become popular in Indian kitchens. It needs to be clarified that all ketchups are sauces, but not all sauces are ketchups. Ketchup is made up of only tomato sauce, whereas all others are called sauces. Both are often used interchangeably in India.

Together, these components form an essential part of the culinary landscape in India, contributing to the unique and diverse flavors that characterize Indian cuisine. The use of sauces and condiments allows for a customizable and dynamic approach to cooking, enabling individuals to tailor their meals to personal preferences. Whether used in traditional recipes or innovative culinary creations, sauces and condiments play a vital role in elevating the overall dining experience.

And if recent trends are observed, one can see India-based sauces and condiments witnessing strong traction in the global market as well. In this blog, the TPCI research team presents exclusive insights into this trend.

The global market

The global sauces and condiments market was valued at US$ 230.6 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 5.7% between 2023-32, according to a report by GM Insights. A key demand driver for this is the increased consumer demand for convenience and flavour varieties in their culinary experiences.

Similarly, the Indian sauces and condiments market has expanded significantly in recent decades. Manufacturers are considering expanding their product lines in response to rising demand for dishes that are easier to prepare and consume with ready-made sauces.

The Indian sauces and condiments market was valued at US$ 25.85 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.34% from 2022-27. In terms of volume, the sauces and condiments industry is expected to grow at a 5.1% annual rate in 2023, reaching 13,120.6 million kg by 2027.

Global trade analysis of sauces and condiments

The global import of sauces and condiments stood at US$ 17.43 billion in 2022, up from US$ 16.01 billion in 2021, and growing at a CAGR of 8% during 2018-22. The US, UK, France, Canada and Germany are the top five importers of the world of sauces and condiments.

World’s Top 5 importers of sauces and condiments

Importers Value imported in 2022 (US$ million) Average Annual growth in value between 2018-22 (%) Annual growth in value for 2021-2022 (%) Share in world imports (%)
World 17,427.66 8 9 100
US 2,188.19 15 20 12.6
UK 1,159.52 5 14 6.7
France 936.13 7 8 5.4
Canada 922.53 5 11 5.3
Germany 890.19 8 -2 5.1

Source: ITC, Trade Map, Data for HS Code-2103

The US accounted for 12.6% of global imports of sauces and condiments, valued at US$ 2.18 billion in 2022, with a CAGR of 15% between 2018 and 2022. The UK came in second (US$ 1.15 billion, CAGR of 5%), followed by France (US$ 936.13 million, CAGR of 7%), Canada (US$ 922.53 million, CAGR of 5%), and Germany (US$ 890.19 million, CAGR of 8%).

World's importers of sauces

Source: ITC, Trade Map, Data for HS Code-2103

World’s Top 5 exporters of sauces and condiments

Exporters Value exported in 2022 (US$  million) Average annual growth in value between 2018-22 (%) Annual growth in value for 2021-22 (%) Share in world exports (%)
World 18,313.00 9 6 100
China 2,287.81 19 10 12.5
US 2,094.46 5 8 11.4
Italy 1,538.69 15 7 8.4
Netherlands 1,346.32 10 7 7.4
Germany 1,053.51 3 0 5.8

Source: ITC, Trade Map, Data for HS Code-2103

Among the top exporters, China accounted for 12.5% of the world’s overall exports of sauces and condiments valued at US$ 2.28 billion in 2022, with a 19% CAGR between 2018-22. It was followed by the US (US$ 2.09 billion, negative CAGR of 5%), Italy (US$ 1.53 billion, CAGR of 15%), the Netherlands (US$ 1.34 billion, CAGR of 10%), and Germany (US$ 1.05 billion, CAGR of 3%).

World's exporters of sauces

Source: ITC, Trade Map, Data for HS Code-2103

Some of the fastest growing major markets in this segment based on 5-year CAGR (in order of import size in 2022) are the US (13%), Mexico (11%), Poland (12%), Philippines (10%) and Czech Republic (10%).

India’s exports of sauces and condiments

India’s sauces and condiments exports to the world have been growing for the past decade. In 2022-23, India exported US$ 94 million worth of sauces and condiments to the world, up by 19% YoY. During 2013-22, exports have grown at a double-digit CAGR of 11.3%.

Importers Value exported in 2022 (US$ million) Share in India’s exports (%) Average annual growth in value (2018-22, in %) Annual growth in value for 2021-22 (%)
World 93.99 100 11 19
US 13.89 14.8 -5 22
UK 9.84 10.5 16 1
Bangladesh 8.51 9.1 19 44
Australia 8.04 8.6 12 16
UAE 7.94 8.4 12 17

Source: ITC, Trade Map, Data for HS Code-2103

India’s total exports of processed potato to the US stood at US$ 13.89 million in 2022, followed by the UK (US$ 9.84 million), Bangladesh (US$ 8.51 million), Australia (US$ 8.04 million), and the UAE (US$ 7.94 million). When we compare to global top 5 importers, only the US and UK come out in common with India’s top 5 export markets.

India's market for sauces

Source: ITC, Trade Map, Data for HS Code-2103

India is only exporting to two importers, i.e., the US and UK, out of the top 5 world importers of sauces and condiments and has a very low share in their imports. This shows the opportunity for Indian sauces manufacturers and exporters to cater to global demand and grow their exports in international markets.

Drivers of industry growth

As the consumption of ethnic food rises, the demand for sauces and condiments also shoots up. India’s street food scene has been gaining popularity in recent years, and its growth will continue to boost the industry. In fact, sauces and condiments are so popular in India that street vendors and restaurants alike often use them as an ingredient in their dishes. Some of the drivers are as follows:

  • Convenience: Convenience is the most important driver of the sauces and condiments industry. In fact, convenience is a key driver for consumers as well.
  • Globalisation: The sauces industry benefits from globalisation as consumers embrace diverse international flavours, driving demand for a variety of sauces to enhance culinary experiences globally.
  • Experimentation: The Indian consumer’s openness to trying new and innovative flavours has encouraged manufacturers to introduce a wide range of sauces, meeting the demand for novel culinary experiences.
  • Growing preference: As busy lifestyles become more prevalent, consumers seek easy and quick solutions for cooking, contributing to the increased adoption of sauces in Indian households.
  • New local niches: Exploring and tapping into new local niches with unique flavours contributes to the sauces industry’s growth. Manufacturers catering to specific regional tastes and preferences capitalise on localised approaches, expanding the market and appealing to diverse consumer segments.
  • Large QSR chain growth: The growth of Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) further propels the sauces industry, as these establishments frequently use a variety of sauces to enhance the taste and appeal of their offerings, driving overall demand.

Challenges to market expansion

Despite the strong growth rate, India is still ranked 35th in global exports, which shows the strong potential for further expansion. During our interactions with members of Indian industry, they outlined some key challenges that they face:

  • Hyper-competitive market: The sauces and condiments industry faces intense competition, making it challenging for companies to differentiate their products and establish a unique market position. Brands must continually innovate and market effectively to stand out in this crowded landscape.
  • Quality standards: Maintaining consistent quality standards is a critical challenge for sauce manufacturers. Meeting and adhering to stringent quality requirements is imperative to gain consumer trust and comply with industry regulations, contributing to long-term success.
  • Lack of scale in niches: Achieving economies of scale in specialised niches can be difficult. Smaller, niche-focused sauce producers may struggle to scale up production efficiently, limiting their competitiveness compared to larger players in the market.
  • Consumer preference for local brands: Consumer inclination towards local and regional brands poses a challenge for larger, non-local sauce manufacturers. Building trust and connecting with consumers on a local level become essential to competing effectively in diverse markets.
  • Health factors influencing sauce purchases: The growing emphasis on health-conscious choices impacts sauce purchases. Consumers increasingly need to consider nutritional aspects, pushing sauce companies to offer healthier options and transparent labelling to meet evolving consumer expectations, as the market undergoes a transition.

The way ahead 

Sauces and condiments are expected to be one of the fastest-growing markets in India for both domestic consumption and exports in the coming years. With an increasing demand for spicy sauces, ketchup is estimated to be one of the top product categories that will drive growth in this segment over time.

India is a land of diversity, which is aptly reflected in the food industry. There are myriad varieties in sauces and condiment bases that are prepared in traditional households and are unique to particular regions. By focusing on such products, exports will increase in value due to augmented demand from foreign countries, thereby boosting the sector and the economy.

Sameer Trivedi, Brand Manager, Spicenest, told IBT, “Many spices are grown in India like pepper, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, and chilies, to name a few. India is a global leader in chilli production, and the demand for ghost chilli, which is aboriginal to India, has shown a huge demand in recent years. For many years, India has been ranked as one of the largest producers of chillies in terms of production value. A greater emphasis on exporting finished products of ingredients (sauces) will benefit the spices and condiments industry on a large scale.”

He further stated, “the domestic manufacturer should explore the diverse sauces and condiments that the nation celebrates in different corners of the land. With rising incomes and increasing urbanisation, people are looking for food that is convenient to prepare. They want healthy food that tastes good, and they want it in a hurry. This also presents the opportunity for sauces domestically.”

The market for sauces and condiments is an extremely diverse segment of the food industry. There are different types of sauces and condiments, each with its own unique taste – ketchups, mustard, soy sauce, barbeque sauce, pickles, and chutneys. The availability of these varieties has increased over the years due to changing tastes among consumers.

The need of the hour is for extensive research to understand global market trends, assess and identify markets with strong potential and understand how consumer tastes and preferences are evolving in these markets. With its rich agri base and growth in processed food capacity, India is in a strong position to not just offer its tremendous bouquet of sauce varieties but also cater to the  demands of mainstream populations in these markets.

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