Fun, tactile and handy, squeezable tubes bring table/cooking sauces in line with consumer trends and demographic changes in Southeast Asia.

Mintel recommends

  • Use portability to inject fun and vibrancy
    Consumers can add fun and vibrancy into the table/cooking sauce categories with sauces in portable, squeezable tubes. Consumers can also creatively apply restaurant-quality sauces into their foods, even on the go, as more restaurants start to package their signature sauces in the tube format.
  • Designed for small families and single households
    With family sizes becoming smaller and more single households appearing, the squeezable tube can be positioned to ride the demographic change happening in Southeast Asia.
  • Support aspiring cooks and minimise food waste
    Squeezable tubes as a format can support aspiring cooks and those who cook occasionally, while helping them to reduce food waste during their cooking journey. Sauces in squeezable tubes can also serve as trial packs for consumers who are cooking more at home.

Portable, squeezable tube packaging can fire up the imagination and can be fun

Having cooking and table sauces in a squeezable tube format, which is small enough to fit in a handbag, opens up a world of possibilities. Such packaging resonates with Southeast Asian consumers who love trying new experiences and are interesting in things that are fun. In Vietnam, 88% of consumers* describe themselves as seeking fun in all aspects of their life.

Sauces in squeezable tubes are portable, mess-free and easy to use. Consumers can easily customise the flavour intensity of their food when eating at home or out of home. Consumers can also engage in experimentation by mixing and matching different sauces to create their favourite mix to pair with their food.

Tubes enable users to play with sauces, thus making food decoration easier. Also, tubes are kid-friendly as compared to other packaging material, such as glass.

Maepranom is the latest to embrace squeezable tubes for its sauces

Maepranom, a 61 year old chili paste brand from Thailand, has unveiled for the first time a squeezable tube version of its iconic sauces to attract a younger audience who want a more convenient option. Maepranom is typically sold in a glass bottle or jar.

The squeezable tube format is relatively new and accounted for less than 1% of cooking sauce and table sauce launches in Southeast Asia in the year to September 2020.

In Southeast Asia, sweetened condensed milk manufacturers have already demonstrated how tube packaging can elevate convenience and inject vibrancy into the category.

As a new packaging format in the table and cooking sauce categories, the squeezable tube can potentially play a similar role in revitalising the brand image of table and cooking sauces and ensuring these are relevant for the next generation of consumers.

Tan Heng Hong, Mintel APAC Food and Drink Analyst, said:

From Oct.2019-Sep.2020, from all table sauce and cooking sauce launches by package type, in Southeast Asia, tube type is only 0.7%, which in from Mintel GNPD. Even though it accounts for less than 1% of launches, the squeezable tube format has potential to appeal to users because of its convenience and portability.

Sauces in tube format can engage aspiring cooks, while minimising food waste

Brands can position table and cooking sauces in small squeezable tubes for aspiring cooks and those who occasionally cook. Tubes can also reduce the food waste that might be generated during the course of experimenting with different sauces.

During COVID-19, more people (especially younger consumers) cook more at home, but some are still at the experimental stage, especially when it comes to finding the right type of sauces to use. Often, these consumers run the risk of having sauces on hand that are left open but unfinished.

The squeezable tube, due to its smaller pack size, solves this consumer pain point when it comes to food waste; squeezable tubes enable consumers to use the last drop of the sauce. Moreover, consumers can experiment with the various sauces in smaller tubes before deciding to upgrade to a bigger packaging format.

Consumers can carry restaurant-quality sauce in their pocket

As foodservice brands pivot towards more retail offerings, foodservice players can leverage the on-trend tube packaging format to promote their signature table and cooking sauces for everyday eating occasions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced foodservice operators to diversify their revenue stream, including selling packaged versions of their sauces. As consumers cook more at home, these unique sauces can help them replicate restaurant or street food flavours while supporting foodservice operators.

For Thai sauce manufacturers such as Chua Hah Seng, which depend on sales via the foodservice channel, the slowdown in the trend of eating out of home has also prompted the company to focus more on the retail channel.

Tubes are suitable for smaller families and single-person households

Families in many parts of Asia are becoming smaller, and this provides further opportunities for the tube format. Average family size in Southeast Asia is shrinking, largely as a consequence of declining fertility. There is also the trend of a rising proportion of single-person households; in Singapore, 15% of people lived alone in 2019, an increase from 10% in 2009.

In response to this trend, Lee Kum Kee introduced a 167g toothpaste-like squeezable tube in Hong Kong.

Tan Heng Hong, Mintel APAC Food and Drink Analyst,said,

Squeezable tubes can inject a new sense of excitement into the table and cooking sauce categories. Such packaging formats can also help foodservice and sauce makers pivot into retail and engage consumers who are increasingly cooking at home, while helping to tackle issues of food waste.