King of the Condiments

You may have thought it was ketchup, but the biggest-selling condiment in America is …mayonnaise! Americans buy two billion dollars worth of mayonnaise every year now, compared to only $800 million in ketchup. My go-to condiment, mustard, is way down the list. Strangely, this graph found at Quartz raises more questions than it answers. The graph quantifies the condiments only in dollars; how do the condiments stack up when measured in gallons consumed? After all, some of these are much more expensive per gallon than others. Does the mayonnaise stripe include Miracle Whip and its clones, which is mayonnaise plus sugar? It makes a difference, because while I use Miracle Whip for some recipes, I can’t stand mayonnaise. And where is salsa? A lot of other people wondered that, too.

(Update: Various readers have asked why salsa isn’t included on this list. Euromonitor responds that salsa is, technically speaking, a “dip”, not a condiment. So now you know. For what it’s worth, salsa would eclipse ketchup, but still be second to mayo.)

Hot sauce is the fastest-growing condiment, but it has a long way to go to “ketchup” with ketchup. -via Digg

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Some of this might be skewed by the price per ounce, as it is in dollars, although I think the prices of ketchup, mayo, and soy sauce are all about the same at a regular store. Although when cooking, as opposed to just using as a condiment, I would say a lot more mayo gets used in things like potato salad compared to how much ketchup or mustard would get used in something like a coating a meatloaf or roast, etc. I probably spend the most on soy sauce even when buying bulk containers, as it gets used a lot in cooking, while a small container of mustard lasts a couple months, and I end up leaving ketchup in the fridge enough years it goes bad.
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Looking at the chart in comparison to the strength of the flavor of each condiment, it seems like the order is right on par.

- Mayo has the weakest flavor by a large margin
- Ketchup, Soy Sauce, and BBQ are about equal to one another (BBQ varies a little depending on style).
- Hot sauce, Mustard , and Steak Sauce are very strong flavors.

Looking at it that way, we would expect a regular person to go through a jar of mayo faster than they go through an equal size jar of mustard, simply because it takes a lot less mustard to blend with the various flavors in a sandwich. The chart looks like about 4x as much mayo is consumed, and tbh, I would readily say that mustard's flavor is easily 4x stronger than mayo, so 1/4 of it is necessary to be enough for balance of flavors in a dish that has both.
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