When modern consumers enter their local grocery store or specialty food market, they aren’t necessarily looking for the same old products. Many customers would rather seek out new and unique offerings, rather than opting for a traditional stand-by. That’s good news for small businesses, as name recognition might not actually be as important as product branding, ingredients, and flavors.

Hot sauces and barbecue sauces, in particular, are experiencing substantial growth. U.S. hot sauce sales were predicted to hit $1.37 billion in 2017, an increase of 4.5% from the year prior, and IBISWorld predicts that the industry will be worth $1.65 billion within the next five years.

The BBQ sauce industry has also expanded, with the number of businesses operating in this sector increasing by 4.2% from 2013 to 2018. Thanks to the increasing popularity of specific offerings (like honey, sweet, Asian, mustard, and Kansas City sauces), there’s room for more of these products on the shelf.

Packaging Matters

Of course, before you can think about distribution, you’ll need to put a lot of thought into your packaging and your label design. While nearly every hot sauce or BBQ sauce comes in a bottle, the type of bottle you choose can make a real impact on your sauce’s ability to sell.

Will you choose plastic or glass? A clear bottle will provide consumers with the opportunity to see all your ingredients prior to opening, but some makers will opt for colored glass instead.

Ultimately, you’ll want to allow the customer to whet their appetite with a preview of the sauce they’ll soon be enjoying. And if you can offer a unique or aesthetically pleasing bottle, rather than a boring one, all the better.

Labeling Necessities

Once that choice is made, you’ll need to think about the kinds of unique labels you’ll want to feature. Keep in mind that hot sauce and barbecue sauce labels serve several purposes.

For one thing, food and beverage labels need to contain nutritional information and ingredients. Two-thirds of survey respondents say they’ll often check the label to see how many calories an item has or how high the salt, fat, or vitamin content might be. This is a great opportunity to highlight the quality of your ingredients and to comply with industry standards.

With hot sauces, you will also need to go further with your product identification. You will be required to classify your hot sauce by the type of spice (which may fall under the category of hot, extra hot, green, chipotle, habanero, garlic, chili and lime, sweet and spicy, or other options).

Barbecue sauces also need to be labeled under their correct category (which could be plain/regular, honey, hickory smoke, honey mustard, hickory and brown sugar, hot and spicy, or containing fruit purees). It should go without saying that your product’s labeling must comply with all regulations outlined by the USDA.


But successful product branding addresses far more than the bare necessities. If you want your BBQ or hot sauce to fly off the shelves, you’ll need to get creative with your labeling and tell a compelling story.

Whether that means using appealing artwork, getting creative with your sauce’s name and tagline, or creating a label that uniquely fits the shape of your bottle, you’ll want to make sure that all of your product branding supports your overall message and addresses your target audience.

Even the type of labeling material you’ll choose can have an impact on how likely a customer is to buy your product. Focus on color scheme, brand messaging, a mascot, or facts that set your sauce apart from the competition.

One other important tactic is to add marketing material to the label which helps consumers identify how they could best use it, or cross sells other complementary products. Some examples that can be very effective are recipes or cross branding with other flavors of the same product. Certain label constructions such as expanded content labels work perfectly for this purpose, allowing you space to tell your story without requiring you to increase the size of your physical package or bottle.

Bringing it all Together

Getting your product branding exactly where you want it can make all the difference, especially when you’re trying to stand out among other well-known products on the shelves. By working with a reputable and experienced label printing company, you’ll be able to achieve those goals. To learn more, please contact us today.