Traditionally, fruit sauces were limited in their applications and were focused on sweet/dessert dishes. Today, fruits can be paired with meat and seafood, such as this salmon steak with oranges.

Retail packaged dips, such as sour cream and onion (aka, French onion), spinach and mushroom, and nacho, have been top sellers in grocery retail stores for decades. Newcomers, such as the popular taco dip (made with refried beans, sour cream, cream cheese, salsa, tomatoes, green bell peppers, green onions, lettuce, black olives, Cheddar cheese and taco seasoning mix) are gaining popularity, also. Many grocery retailers across the country compete with manufacturers by making some of these dips onsite daily, in their prep kitchens, and then selling them in the deli section.

Recently, the Heinz Company launched a line of dipping sauces, marketed and sold to foodservice operators and restaurateurs. The product line consists of global ethnic and regional American flavors, packaged in 1oz cups. The flavors are Shanghai Style Chili, Apricot Ginger, Bacon Ranch, Tangy Mustardaise, Parmesano Aioli and Southwest Style Chipotle. Serving suggestions are fried chicken pieces, onion rings and fries.

Back on the retail side, Santa Barbara Bay Foods recently launched a line of natural, refrigerated dips that are made with Voskos Greek yogurt. According to the company’s website, “Greek yogurt offers unique health benefits, such as containing twice the protein and calcium of traditional yogurt, as well as live and active probiotic cultures that promote digestive health. Greek yogurt has a rich and creamy texture, making it a perfect substitute for sour cream in traditional sour cream-based dips.” The product line is packaged in 12oz containers, designed for the consumer to eat right out of the package. Among the five varieties are a Thai Three-Pepper Dip and a Roasted Red Pepper & Asiago Cheese Dip. Another line of dips, manufactured by the same company, includes a Caramelized Onion & Roasted Garlic Dip, Raspberry Chipotle Dip (sour cream, fresh raspberries, roasted chipotle peppers, spices), Sweet & Spicy Three Pepper Dip and Artichoke Dip (artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, fire roasted garlic and spices).

Hummus Flavors
Hummus is a Middle Eastern spread that has been re-invented by some American manufacturers, in terms of product functionality and flavors. Traditional/classic hummus is made of cooked, mashed chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seed paste), lemon juice and garlic; it usually is used as a spread or dip for pita bread.

The Sabra Dipping Company is one of the leading manufacturers of authentic Mediterranean-style refrigerated dips and sauces in the U.S. Some of the company’s hummus flavors are 10oz-size containers of Jalapeno hummus (cooked chickpeas, tahini, canola oil, garlic, jalapeno peppers, salt citric acid, vinegar, seasoning spices, natural flavors, potassium sorbate); Supremely Spicy hummus (containing hot red chili peppers); and roasted pine nuts-flavored hummus.

Sabra also has a line of dips and chips, under its “grab & go” concept, containing 3.5oz of hummus and pretzel chips. The flavors are the classic hummus, roasted garlic and roasted red pepper.

In spite of the required allergen warning labeling for nuts on retail packaging, peanut sauces and dips continue to grow in the marketplace. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc., which operates about 31 restaurant concepts, has a line of signature sauces under its Big Bowl brand name. The 10oz bottles of sauce are sold in grocery stores and gourmet food websites across the country. The spicy peanut sauce (made with roasted peanuts, sugar, soy bean oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, water, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, salt, garlic, lactic acid, spice, potassium sorbate) is marketed as a dipping sauce, as well as a finishing sauce that can be used for satays or noodles. Other product flavors sold under the Big Bowl brand line are soy vinegar, mustard sesame and plum sauce.

Cashew dipping sauce has started to appear on the menus of some Vietnamese and Thai restaurants. It is made from unsalted roasted cashews (blended to a paste), sugar, water, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, ginger, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.

MaraNatha Nut Butters Company makes cashew nut butter, which is packed in an 8oz jar, made of only dry-roasted cashews and safflower oil. This product can be used as an ingredient to make dipping sauces for satay. There has been an emerging trend of upscale/gourmet grocery stores making their own brands of nut butters onsite. Chicago-based Treasure Island stores recently started making fresh peanut butters and packaging them in 8 and 16oz containers.

Fruit Sauces
Traditionally, fruit sauces have been marketed with limitations, and their applications are primarily in pie fillings, ice cream and pancake/waffle toppings. Flavors, such as apple and cherry, are used as a topping or glaze for baked ham and roast pork loin dishes.

Robert Rothchild Farms Company produces some fruit sauces that are as versatile as their flavors.  There is a Hot Raspberry Thunder Sauce, packaged in an 8oz bottle, made with sugar, raspberry vinegar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, red chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, citric acid and xanthan gum. The sauce is marketed as a flavor enhancer for chili, soups and gazpacho. It also can be used as an ingredient to spice up potato salad or as a spread on sandwiches.

Another product made by Robert Rothchild Farms Company is the Peach Coconut Mango Habanero Seafood Sauce, packaged in a 10.5oz jar, made with sugar, peaches, mango, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, roasted yellow peppers, coconut cream, water, roasted red peppers, roasted red onions, green onions, habanero peppers, xanthan gum, citric acid and natural flavor. This product is labeled as a seafood sauce, but there is a lot of fruit flavor. The manufacturer’s suggestion is to use it as a glazing for seafood or a dipping sauce for egg rolls. 

No matter the application, dips and sauces help to make foods unique. Their versatility allows for many creative presentations, and their wide variety will help keep consumers interested and engaged. pf

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