Do you have a bottle of Tabasco in your home?

I just had breakfast at the local diner and as usual I asked for Tabasco for my eggs. (Ok egg white omelet on the off chance my doctor might read this). Tabasco has been made by the McIlhenny Company out of Avery Island, La., since 1868. The company is still family-run and privately held and doesn’t disclose its financials, but estimates are that Tabasco found just about everywhere I go, owns about 20%-25% of the market.

McIlhenny, which grows its peppers all over the western hemisphere (apparently they are all handpicked); sells six flavors of Tabasco, but none come close the numbers of its bestseller, the original red. International business comprises 40% of the company’s overall sales. I can’t think of another brand that would be found in so many homes around the United States – and perhaps outside the U.S. as well – can you?

Everyone seems to have a bottle of Tabasco somewhere in the spice cabinet or refrigerator. Many of us have no idea as to the actual age of that bottle. (Can Tabasco go bad? Has that ever happened to anyone?) I have a number of women friends that carry a small bottle of Tabasco around in their purse.
Tabasco even has a relationship with a franchise style marketing (but not a franchise business yet it has a buy in of slightly under $ 15K) company that allows you to re-sell Tabasco brand product. By the way they claim it’s not a get rich quickly program.

Sold in more than 160 countries and packaged in 22 languages and dialects (at least according to Wikipedia), as many as 720,000 two-ounce (57 ml) bottles of Tabasco are produced daily in Louisiana. The U.S. military has included Tabasco sauce in MRE’s since the 1980’s. I had first-hand evidence of this last summer when I did a two day USMC executive session which included lunching on MRE’s (in case you are interested

What strikes me more than anything else is that Tabasco only owns about 20%-25% of the market. Is that the market for hot sauces? Quick can you name #2? I am at a loss to come up with any brand that even comes close in this – or for that matter just about any other space.

Got any ideas on other brands that are as ubiquitous as Tabasco?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Customer Experiences, Living in the World Today, Marketing stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Do you have a bottle of Tabasco in your home?

  1. Nader Ashway says:

    Nice post, Mark.
    As a fan of spicy sauces, I might guess that Frank’s Red Hot (Reckitt Benckiser) is the #2 brand in the market. I’d also bet that they have a strategy in place to either take over #1 or at least close the gap, as they’ve launched a pretty broad-scale marketing campaign over the past year, running TV and radio spots with the tagline “I put that s%*t on everything!”

    The problem that their new brand manager will face, however, is a deep-rooted brand position that Tabasco already owns. Like Band-Aid®, Kleenex™ and Frisbee®, to name a few, Tabasco is the catch-all term for “hot sauce.” Good luck, Frank’s.

    Nader Ashway
    Twitter: @nashway


    • markkolier says:

      Frank’s – I forget about them as a ‘major’ competitior but you’re right – Good luck, Frank’s. Thanks Nader good insight and I thought of the Kleenex or even Ketchup (which is a Heinz product since ‘Catsup’ is actually the category name) too…


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