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This is why you can’t find HP Sauce in South Africa - and what to do until it returns

Shoppers have been searching for weeks for the classic condiment, and breakfasts up and down the country are just not the same anymore.

by: Katy Rose | 30 Aug 2018
HP Sauce

ALSO READ: 10 Foods you probably didn’t know were unique to South Africa

HP Sauce, with its signature square bottle and blue label is a breakfast essential for many South Africans. The label depicts the Houses of Parliament, from where the sauce gets its name: HP. The fruit based brown sauce has a smooth texture like tomato sauce, but with flavours of vinegar, tamarind and spices. It is often used as a breakfast condiment, and is particularly delicious with fried eggs, bacon and even boerewors. 

The sauce is a traditional condiment in English-speaking countries such as South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Like many other Anglo-foods such as Marmite or Bovril, HP Sauce is either loved and adored, or dismissed with apathy by those that just don’t get the hype. 

HP Sauce

Photo by Matt Heaton on Unsplash

South African consumers have been finding it harder and harder to find HP Sauce in their local supermarkets, with some travelling far and wide to get their hands on some. A Twitter user recently alerted the Food24 team to the brown sauce crisis affecting Cape Town. He told us, “I am STRESSED about this. My breakfast is just not right without it.”

A quick survey of supermarkets and convenience stores yielded no HP Sauce results. The manager at Claremont Pick ‘n Pay said that HP Sauce was not in stock, with only a few stores in the Western Cape showing a handful of bottles in stock between them. Woolworths online reflected it in stock, but shelves in their brick and mortar stores showed none. 

Speciality food leader and exotic ingredient stockists, Rosmead SuperSpar, had only a few bottles of the Fruity variant, but they stated that the Original Blue label HP Sauce had been sold out for weeks. British food specialists, UK Emporium in Milnerton, were also sold out. The store said that they were expecting a delivery of stock from the UK in the next few weeks, but that there was no guarantee that HP Sauce would be in the shipment. 

We contacted HP Sauce Brand Manager, Ursula Du Plessis, who told us ”Rest assured HP has not been discontinued. Our current out of stock situation is only temporarily.” Her team is working hard to get it back in stock in SA stores. When will we get HP Sauce back? Ursula said, "Unfortunately I am unable to give you an indication as to when it will be back in stock” - hopefully soon!

In the meantime, we found a recipe to make your own HP- style sauce at home, and until it returns to our store shelves, it’s strict HP rations for everyone! 

Have you found some HP Sauce recently? Let us know where (or don't!) on Twitter.

ALSO READ: The great foodie debate: Marmite vs Bovril


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