A new report from market researcher Packaged Facts has suggested healthier and ethnic flavour variants are the best hope for boosting volumes in a generally sluggish salad dressing sector.

According to the report which examines salad dressings in the US, new product developments in these areas should grow the market from US$2.72bn in 2005 to nearly $2.9bn in 2010.

Packaged Facts forecasts that the market for refrigerated, shelf-stable and mixed dressings will show steady growth over the next four years as marketers find new ways to introduce better-for-you dressings with heightened flavour profiles.

Cross-merchandising dressings with lettuce and the introduction of “spray-on dressings” are among the ways marketers in 2005 looked to stave off wilting sales, the report says.

“Most of the major marketers have seen sales slipping and are going the extra mile to create and promote new flavour combinations that will serve to meet the new-found health consciousness of Americans as well as their desire to experience exotica,” said Don Montuori, the publisher of Packaged Facts. “Good-for-you dressings – such as those labeled “No Trans-Fats” – as well as organics should help to revitalise this market.”