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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"Hold the mayo!" a new generation of Americans is collectively shouting, thereby threatening the nation's long-time favorite salad and sandwich smathering.

The bottom line: Snicker if you like but people like Sandy Hingston, a boomer from Philly, are in a condiment crisis over the obsolescence of her potato salad and deviled eggs in favor of foods containing mustard, ketchup, salsa, kimchi, wasabi — anything but mayo. She lives in fear that mayo is going the way of now-passé Jell-O.

What's happening: Ketchup and mustard have been staples of the all-American diet for over a century, but mayonnaise has been the most popular by far.

  • Now Hingston, a writer at Philadelphia Magazine, has uncovered a hidden dark side to the subject of sandwich spreads — her younger relatives are eschewing family tradition in favor of what they regard as hipper condiments, she recently wrote.
  • Little did she expect the raw nerve she would expose: hate mail poured in (though one defender also sent two quarts of Duke's Mayo). "It turns out people really, really identify with their condiments," Hingston tells Axios.

Hingston's essay also caught the attention of Zoe Leavitt of CB Insights, the market research firm. Leavitt decided to take a look at the numbers.

  • Mayonnaise sales have dropped 6.7% over the last five years. That's bad news for big-time brands like Heinz and Kraft that sell tons of mayo, Leavitt says.
  • Healthier condiment startups — like Brightland, the olive oil-based condiment seller, and JUST, the vegan mayo producer — are creeping in, jumping from a 3.1% market share in 2012 to 6.2% today, per the WSJ.

Some room for hope: The youths haven't written off mayonnaise, Leavitt says. Mayo-based aiolis are still wildly popular as dipping sauces for fries and toppings on burgers. And mayo that's got bold flavors, like sriracha and chipotle, is a hit as well. A rebranding play could be all it takes to update mayonnaise for younger Americans, she says.

Go deeper

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Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 11 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.