Ketchup and mustard, along with other assorted seasonings, have historically been the condiment grouping on restaurant tables, but mayonnaise was never part of the tabletop clique until now. New packaging and debunking the myth that commercially-produced mayo needs to be refrigerated have helped to push it to the top of the table, according to The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Enterprising manufacturers found a way to package mayonnaise to fit in with the tabletop crowd, and as a result, case shipments of tabletop mayo from broadline foodservice distributors to commercial and noncommercial foodservice outlets have had year-over-year gains.
Case shipments of tabletop mayonnaise from broadline distributors to commercial and noncommercial foodservice outlets increased by 3 percent in the year ending April 2016 over an 18 percent gain same period year ago, according to NPD Group’s SupplyTrack, a monthly tracking service that tracks every product shipped from major foodservice broadline distributors to over 500,000 commercial and noncommercial operators. Tabletop mayo case shipments to noncommercial foodservice outlets increased by 12 percent in the period over year ago. In the commercial segment, the full-service segment had the largest gain in case shipments of tabletop mayonnaise among restaurant operator segments, with an 11 percent increase over last year.
The myth that commercially-produced mayo needs to be refrigerated for food safety reasons played a role in keeping it behind refrigerator doors rather than on the top of the restaurant table. According to food scientists, commercially-produced mayonnaise, versus homemade, undergoes strict quality tests and, if anything, because of its acidic nature slows the growth of the bacteria associated with food- borne illnesses. As long as it’s not contaminated with other foods or a dirty utensil, which could happen with any condiment and is one of the reasons protective tops were designed, store-bought mayo does not need to be refrigerated. Refrigerating commercial mayonnaise after opening has more to do with quality and extending its shelf life than it does with spoilage.
“Mayonnaise manufacturers innovated by taking a classic product and repackaging it for a new purpose,” says Annie Roberts, vice president of SupplyTrack. “This all-purpose staple now has its rightful place on the restaurant table, and restaurant customers can literally ‘hold the mayo.’”