The Story of Store-Bought Spaghetti Sauce

Pasta, especially spaghetti, although an iconic Italian dish, is beloved around the world. Its neutral taste, texture, versatility, and ease of preparation make it a household staple.
Grand View Research reports that the global pasta and noodles market, valued at $83.49 billion in 2022, is expected to grow by a CAGR of 3.5% to $109.52 by 20301. Research over the years suggests that almost six in every ten US adults eat a noodle or pasta dish at least once a week2. Among these pasta lovers, over two-thirds prefer spaghetti.
The pasta dish is filling and comforting with a flavorful, rich sauce and often topped with cheese. Original spaghetti is made from wheat but now also caters to various diets, including gluten-free. In addition, spaghetti is affordable for most, helping to provide cost-effective, budget-friendly meals.
While spaghetti with a little oil and pesto is heavenly, the magic is in the sauce for most. At the same time, although sauces are simple to make at home, busy consumers often opt for store-bought spaghetti sauces.
The History of Store-Bought Sauces
Jarred sauces from RAGÚ® and Prego have taken the shelves by storm since the 1970s. However, the story of store-bought sauces starts long before that.
Commercial tomato canning began in the mid-1800s to preserve the fruit for longer. Later, in the 1920s, Italian-born Chef Ettore Bioardi (Boyardee) started selling sauces, which took off after his Cleveland-based restaurant, Il Giardino D-Italia, made his recipes famous.
With growing demand, Chef Ettore eventually built a processing plant, yielding jarred marinara, spicy Neapolitan, and mushroom pasta sauces. Later, this innovator introduced spaghetti and sauce to WWII American soldiers, thanks to a government commission, helping his brand to succeed.
Assunta and Giovanni Cantisano launched their own RAGÚ brand in 1937, later scaled for mass production and sold to Chesebrough-Pond. In response, another entrant – Campbell’s Prego sauce – battled to compete. However, in the 1980s, Campbell hired a data scientist, leading to horizontal diversification to satisfy the different consumer preferences.
Thanks to this widening appeal, store-bought sauces became an American household necessity. Existing brands, new entrants, high-end restaurants, and gourmet offerings comprise an extensive and complex category.
What’s in Store-Bought Spaghetti Sauces?
Store-bought sauces offer numerous recipe and flavor options. These include basic marinaras, tangy bologneses, arrabbiatas, pestos, and creamy alfredos.
A basic recipe typically includes tomatoes, olive oil, onions, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, and salt. Other common additions include vegetables such as red and green peppers, sugar, olives, mushrooms, citric acid, yeast extract, emulsifiers such as modified egg yolk, and dairy products. At the same time, many ready-made pasta sauces contain unhealthy ingredients and additives, which may increase the risk of disease with overconsumption.
As a result, and in line with consumer demand for healthier, more natural ingredients, sauce producers are looking for “cleaner” formulations and natural flavors that are genuinely pure. They avoid over 250g of sodium, adding refined sugar, saturated fats, chemical preservatives such as potassium metabisulfite, canola and soybean oils, calcium chloride, sodium phosphate, and gums. Also important are gluten-free and 100% plant-based options.
What Next for Store-Bought Spaghetti Sauces?
This essential companion to spaghetti must stay cost-effective and easy to use, with frozen sauces a welcome addition to portfolios. At the same time, producers can continue to be inventive and playful, introducing novel flavor combinations and textures. Exciting ingredient infusions include herbed, roasted, smoked, grilled, Asian notes, and more.
Crucially, retail pasta sauce jars must continue offering healthy, clean-label options. So, for high-quality, 100% natural, sustainably produced, plant-based, organic, and EU-certified taste and aroma ingredients, browse Advanced Biotech’s extensive range.
Advanced Biotech – The Secret to “Clean” and Scrumptious Sauces
Place your natural extracts, aromatics, thiazoles, pyrazines, and RXT (plant-based) ingredients order today. You can also contact us with any questions or requests, or to order samples.