A bacon buttie just isn’t the same without it – but brown sauce such as HP is falling out of favour as youngsters turn to spicier alternatives.
Sales are down 12.4% as the traditional full English breakfast makes way for lighter, more exotic options.
The drop, reported in trade magazine The Grocer, is part of a fall in popularity for all traditional condiments including ketchup and English mustard in favour of new favourites such as peri peri or chilli jam.
Pam Digva, who co-founded Sauce Shop with husband James in 2014, said: “Brown sauce just doesn’t go with a lot of the sorts of food people eat these days.
“People are enjoying avocado on toast or a shakshuka [eggs in spicy tomato sauce] rather than a fry-up, and they’re eating spicier sauces with these.”
But chef Sohini Banerjee, who has developed a range of chutneys with South Asian ingredients specialist Fudco, said there should still be a space in every store cupboard for a trusty bottle of HP.
She added: “It’s got a bit of tamarind, a bit of sugar. Often I’ll reach for it if I’m looking to add a bit of sweetness or saltiness to a meal such as pasta sauce.”
Grocer Frederick Gibson Garton first created the sauce at his shop in Nottingham.
In 1899 he was unable to settle a debt with his vinegar suppliers and handed over the name and recipe for HP Sauce for just £150.
He also had to agree to keep out of the sauce and pickles business. It is now owned by Heinz.
HP Sauce became known as “Wilson’s gravy” in the 1970s after the wife of Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson revealed in an interview that he liked to “drown everything” in it.