The World Condiment Fund (WCF) has taken the tragic step of adding free tomato sauce on a bakery counter to their endangered species list. While numbers have been in steep decline over the last decade, the official listing as an endangered species has sent shockwaves through the tomato sauce community, with plans in place for a public rally this weekend.
Many of us grew up with the communal sauce bottle sitting on the counter, ready for every man and his dog to squirt it into their paper bag of pastry-encased goodness, ultimately taking for granted what was then seen as a baseline for customer service. There was never even complaints when the bakery owners had clearly tipped homebrand tomato sauce into a fancier brand’s bottle, we were just happy it was there.
However, over the years, this service has slowly disappeared from society. One. Bakery. At. A. Time. The advent of sauce sachets changed the condiment industry forever, with small businesses identifying the opportunity to make a few extra bucks on a product that consumers had previously just assumed was factored into the price of our pies and sausage rolls.
But did the pies and sausage rolls drop in price when we started to pay for sauce? No they didn’t. Some bakeries even retained the sauce bottles on the counter but started charging 20 cents per use. That was simply outrageous.
According to Steve Hughes, CEO of WCF, it was a heart-breaking decision to place free tomato sauce on the endangered list. He said, “We closely monitor the numbers of all kinds of condiments throughout the world, and have been tracking the gradual decline of free tomato sauce in Australian bakeries for quite some time. It’s always a sad day when we add something to the endangered list, but this one has really hit the office hard. There were tears, cries of regret, and bold statements of retribution. We’ll continue to work on preserving this treasure and getting it off the list, but I really feel as though we’re fighting a losing battle with this one. And it hurts to admit that.”