In 1992, a report by the USDA’s economic research arm announced that salsa had begun to outsell ketchup in America. This week, almost 30 years later, Instacart announced the results of their own condiment study — and ketchup is back at the top.
Using a small survey sample and their own sales data, the grocery delivery company published a report on the most popular condiments around the country — along with the most reviled. Among their findings: When survey respondents were asked what condiment they would use for the rest of their life if they had to choose just one, the winner was ketchup. However, that big win for ketchup only came with 23% of survey respondents.
Ketchup seemed to find its popularity on the East Coast, along with its best friend: mustard. Instacart’s map of sales data from its top 30 markets showed ketchup as the most popular relative to the rest of the country in Boston, New York, and Southeast Florida, while Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Tampa all chose mustard.
On the West Coast (as well as Atlanta, Denver, and Phoenix), hot sauce took the top spot. However, in the national survey, hot sauce was also the most disliked, with 24% of the responders picking the spicy stuff as their least favorite. The older generations seem to be the big hot sauce haters; Gen-Xers and Boomers consistently ranked it lowest. Meanwhile, Millennials voted for relish as the worst, and Gen-Zers overwhelming expressed their distaste for mustard.
The only thing nearly all age groups could agree on was this: embarrassment levels about putting ketchup on macaroni and cheese. Of those surveyed who said that they like the combination, nearly half said they would feel self-conscious doing that in front of other people.