There was a time when the choice of condiment with which to slather your chips was limited to a handful of options: tomato sauce (obvs), brown sauce, mayonnaise (what are you, German?), or curry sauce—but only if you were up north and at least four pints and a Jägerbomb deep.
Oh, how things change. The average supermarket sauce aisle now heaves with all manner of condiments—everything from banana ketchup to fermented fish sauce and Piri-Piri (cheers for that, Nando's). And it seems this bounteous sauce selection hasn't been good news for the traditional faves.
A new report from market analysts Kantar Worldpanel has found that sales of old-school condiments including tomato ketchup and mayonnaise are down, as Brits develop a taste for spicier sauces.
Carried out for industry magazine The Grocer, the report states that ketchup and brown sauce sales in the UK have fallen by 3.7 percent over the past 12 months, while mayonnaise and salad cream have seen a sales dip of 2.8 percent and 8.6 percent respectively.
Kantar says this could be down to salad becoming less popular as a main meal (you're missing out btw, guys). Amelia Hewitt of the company told The Daily Telegraph: "Salad cream struggled this year as we eat fewer salads as standalone main meals, while brown sauce is likely to have suffered as shoppers move away from processed meats due to health concerns."
She has a point. When you find out your weekend bacon sarnie is as carcinogenic as cigarettes, slathering it in brown sauce becomes less of a priority.
The decline of traditional sauces could also have something to do with the number of exotic condiments now lining supermarket shelves. Who wants monotonous mayonnaise or basic bitch brown sauce when you can cover your pulled pork burger in Tabasco sauce or smear sriracha on your ironic moustache?
Hewitt added: "Traditional staples are finding life tough as shoppers seek out both international and spicier modern variants."
Kantar found that as traditional sauces struggled, sales of Tabasco rose by 6.7 percent in the last year and, as The Telegraph reports, out of the 171 new condiments introduced to supermarkets this year, almost half were "adventurous" varieties like chili or barbecue.
Let's just hope Britain's newfound love of spicy sauce doesn't get too adventurous.