The sandwich spread market has been projected to stagnate at US$3bn by a market research report of the mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard markets.

According to research by Packaged Facts, the sandwich spread market is likely to continue struggling as it suffers from lack of product and packaging innovation.

Packaged Facts projected that sandwich condiment sales would continue a downward trend, which began in 2004, until 2010 when sales are expected to sink to just under $2.9bn.

Mayonnaise still dominates with a share of 59% the market, followed by ketchup and mustard, while all sectors have continued to fall off steadily without loss in market share, according to the research.

In addition, there were only 36 new product introductions between June 2005 and June 2006 in the US market, most of which were launched by smaller players in the market.

Touting the health benefits of some sandwich spreads, such as lycopene-rich ketchup and low-fat mayonnaise, did helped to stave off further market decline though, Packaged Facts said. Upscale, gourmet, and organic versions of spreads have also helped to renew interest in the market.

"The emergence of 'healthier-for-you' spreads as well as ethnic-inspired and alcohol-infused spreads should keep the market from declining too badly," said Don Montuori, the publisher of Packaged Facts. "But more innovation is necessary to keep up with America's more sophisticated palates and desire for exciting and novel flavours."