Sauces and dressings are not something that come instantly to mind when thinking about bakery, but they are an integral part of adding flavour - not to mention a point of difference - to a sandwich, wrap or a panini.

Sandwiches have always been the popular lunchtime choice, but as they are now sold in so many places, and with frugal customers tempted to swap their lunchtime sandwich purchase for a homemade version, bakeries and coffee shops need to do the best they can to make their offering stand out from the rest.

This doesn’t necessarily mean shelling out on a huge range of new products. Darren Bull, owner of The Sauce Company, based in Hertfordshire, says if you have a range of core products, you can mix them to create a number of different sauces. "There is no need to carry large amounts of stock," says Bull. "All products can be mixed with each other to create unusual fillings, giving each bakery retailer the opportunity to develop something different and prevent menu fatigue."

The Sauce Company’s product range has been created to use within the sandwich sector. It supplies sauces, dressings, flavoured mayonnaise, ketchup and regular mayonnaise, and all products are nut-free, gluten-free and vegetarian. It also offers mayonnaise-free sauce products, which can be heated for use in hot wraps or paninis. Example products include: Spicy Balti, Jamaican, Green Thai, Warming Mexican, BBQ, Honey & Mustard, Cooling Mint & Yoghurt and Honey & Chilli. Bull suggests mixing Sweet Chilli sauce to Jamaican, adding a little Mango Chutney, along with pineapple and chicken to create fruity and spicy chicken sauce.

"By mixing two or three different sauces, your competitor will find it difficult to copy you, as you’re using different percentage levels," says Bull. "Even we don’t know what our customers are doing with their products."

Sean Beckett, regional sales manager for Southover Food Company, says that, in the company’s experience, wanting to bring provenance to a sandwich or dish is becoming increasingly popular. The Sussex-based firm supplies a range of sauces, such as Green Thai Chicken mayonnaise, and is now distributing a new range of chutneys made by Deerview Products, based in East Sussex. Varieties include Apricot, Spicy Aubergine & Garlic, Ginger & Redcurrant, Smooth and Sweet Mango, Piccalilli, Rich Tomato and Spiced Apple chutney. "Our research shows that once the dish has provenance, it has an edge and will be perceived as a better product," adds Beckett.

As well as offering a more traditional range of sauces and dressings, companies such as Welsh ingredients supplier Beacon Foods are responding to the multicultural palette of British consumers. Beacon is to launch a new range of ingredients at trade show IFE09 in March. They will form part of its Tastes of the World range, consisting of sauces, relishes and chutneys. For example, its Indian Spice Magic line includes Kashmiri Tomato, Indian Hot Banana and Mango chutney.

"The Tastes of the World ranges can be matched with any meats, fish or cheeses and go with any bread types, from sliced sandwich breads with any inclusions to individual carriers such as rolls, paninis, focaccias, pretzels and flavoured wraps," explains Edward Gough, Beacon Foods’ managing director.

Other products available include Moroccan Carrot and Orange chutney, Ginger relish and Roast Winter Root Vegetable Purée, as well as a range of more traditional options, such as Bramley Apple relish.

Food consultant Nellie Nichols has been working with Beacon Foods on expanding its products into different markets. She says consumers’ tastes are "fast becoming more multicultural", but that the industry can adapt easily to this.


=== Supplier contact details ===

The Sauce Company - [] or call 01279 833 816

Southover Food Company - [] or call 01273 596830

Beacon Foods - [] or call 01874 622577