Specialists at the Icelandic Competition Authority have been in debates over the nature of several popular condiments, and whether they should be considered “sauces,” following the planned merger of two major mayonnaise manufacturers in Iceland.
The Icelandic Competition Authority recently intervened in the acquisition of Gunnars by the Skagafjörður Trading Company, which would see the merger of popular brands E. Finnson, Vogabær, and Gunnars. According to authorities, the merger potentially places the new mayo conglomerate in too dominant a position in the market.
Corporate representatives have however disputed this claim, stating that given the difference between their products offered, the new merger would not represent a sauce monopoly.
Now, however, the Icelandic Competition Authority is in the sticky situation of defining what exactly constitutes cold, ready-made sauces, and how they differ from other condiments, spreads, and dips.
In a statement to Vísir, Páll Gunnar Pálsson, director of the Icelandic Competition Authority, said: “Parties to the merger thought we should include guacamole, BBQ sauce, ketchup and stuff like that to replace the cocktail-mixed sauces. Now we find that we have to define these terms rather closely, and we realize that it sounds rather peculiar.
The official report, published on January 26, is some 130 pages long. In its pages can be found subsections detailing at length defining hot sauce, mustard, sour cream, BBQ-sauce and other popular condiments.
Páll Gunnar continued: “It’s fair to say that we have actually had serious meeting about whether ketchup can be substituted for cocktail sauce on a hamburger and whether sour cream can be used in place of mayonnaise. This is important for the companies involved, so it’s important to us. And it matters to consumers.”