Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and mexican condiments.

I am looking for confirmation of the “well-known fact” (as one report has it) that Salsa is the “most popular condiment” in the US and/or the world. I’m looking for hard data here: sales figures, consumer surveys, etc, not just people uttering above phrases. Several things need to be defined:

–Is “most popular” the same as highest-selling? I’m really more interested in the latter.

–Do we use sales in dollars, or in amount of condiment sold (i.e. tonnage)?

–Where exactly are the lines between condiment, sauce, dressing, spice, seasoning, etc? Not looking for Webster’s here, want some info from culinary-arts people.

Perhaps the report that offers the “well-known fact” also offers a cite? The only thing I can find is this from May of 1997. The most accurate number will probably come from retailers, since they know what they have to stock on their shelves.

So I guess I really have nothing of value to add but I want to object to salsa even being called a condiment. Condiments are used to flavor a food. Salsa is eaten outright, by way of a vehicle such as a tortilla chip. Salsa is no more a condiment than bean dip or chili con queso is.


So all the sources are from the early 90s. More recent data is elusive.

From this page:

After checking a few more pages on this, the only ones making the “favorite condiment” claims are sites that have a vested interest in selling salsa.

Of course, one could say ketchup is eaten outright, by way of a vehicle such as a hot dog.

I guess the question is “what is the primary?” You can eat chips without salsa, but not vice versa. You can also put salsa on other things (burritos, etc.) The same holds with ketchup, mustard, etc. One might be more interested in the salsa as a matter of taste, but then again I often use hamburgers and ham and cheese sandwiches as mere backdrops for my brown-mustard fetish.

But what about sauces? Why isn’t spaghetti sauce a condiment? Or curry powder?

These are the great questions of our time…

I am not among them, but many would cringe at the thought of ketchup on a hot dog.**

And what about the sauces that are truly considered condiments more than sauces, such as tartar sauce, horseradish sauce, worcestershire sauce, and of course brown sauce?