That's life

The battle of the condiments: He likes hot sauce, she prefers mayo.

A survey commissioned by the Association for Dressings and Sauces reveals some interesting facts about consumers and condiments. According to a recent poll of 1,000 Americans, salsa and ketchup tied for the "favorite" condiment, with mustard the most popular "second favorite." Mayonnaise, salad dressings, and barbecue sauce followed close behind.

Salsa Fanciers

One in four of the people surveyed named salsa as their favorite condiment. Salsa's strength is in the West, where consumers are more likely to love it, be frequent users, and to have some on hand at home. Compared to consumers in general, those who prefer salsa are more likely to be extroverts and to engage in social activities in their spare time. Perhaps it's that hot and spicy "kick" that makes them more motivated than any other group.

Mayonnaise Devotees

Twenty-five percent of those surveyed use mayonnaise more often than any other condiment. Mayonnaise has more appeal for women, who are more likely to use it, and use it more frequently, than men. But mayo buffs are equally split between being social butterflies and leisure-lovers. Half of the consumers who named mayonnaise as their favorite sauce are introverted and less likely to be competitive, athletic, or risk-takers. The other half, however, rated themselves as the most ambitious of all condiment devotees.

Barbecue Sauce Buffs

Men tend to use and enjoy barbecue sauce more than women. But a large percentage of the 18 to 24 age group says they "love" barbecue sauce and are heavy users. Barbecue sauce devotees are more extroverted than fans of other condiments and describe themselves as creative, competitive, athletic, and witty. Northeasterners are less likely to use and like the sauce than consumers in other regions.

Salad Dressing Connoisseurs

Salad dressings are more popular with women than men, and 25 percent of women use them more than any other condiment or sauce. Their usage is strongest in the Northeast. A large group of younger consumers, ages 18 to 24, tend to like them best - 81 percent of those surveyed. On average, consumers keep three bottles of salad dressing on hand. The majority of salad dressing lovers are more reserved and self-disciplined than any other group. They are also more likely to spend their time pursuing creative endeavors.

Mustard Mavens

Mustard is the condiment that truly ties everyone together. Among those surveyed, there were few significant differences in mustard liking along geographic or gender lines. Mustard usage is strongest among consumers age 35 to 64, and it is also favored by those who consider themselves ambitious, self-disciplined, family-oriented - and shy.

Hot Sauce Gourmets

Men who are 18 to 34 and living in the South or West prefer hot sauce to all other condiments. Nearly half of the hot-sauce fans surveyed prefer social activities, such as hanging out with friends or family, to all other activities. They rated themselves as happier and more ambitious, spontaneous, and risk-loving than other condiment users.

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