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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

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.