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Spice Revolution

11/04/2013

Spice Revolution

As more and more diners are looking to discover new flavor profiles, restaurants are dialing up the spicy, smoky, sweet and ethnic flavors to spark cravings, set menu offerings apart and keep guests coming back for more. Driving this trend is the revolution of spices - adding zest to dishes around the world while contributing to healthy, flavorful center of plate options.

At the center of the healthy eating movement, spices are not only popular for what they add to a dish, but also what they help remove from it. The more spices used, potentially the less sodium, sweeteners and fats are needed to add flavor. In other words, spice can provide satisfaction that might otherwise be sated by starch or fat. Spices also have many beneficial properties. Some spices, like turmeric, have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, while others are rich in essential vitamins like chili pepper, which is high in vitamin A. Many even reduce pain, fight free radicals, boost immunity, increase metabolism and prevent illness.

Spices are as versatile as they are beneficial and can easily transform a simple, bland meal into a robust, flavorful dish. For example, chicken, another versatile ingredient, can take on a wide range of flavors with the addition of seasonings and spices. Adding spices like curry, cumin and cardamom creates an Indian-inspired dish, while the addition of scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme and garlic produce Jamaican jerk flavorings commonly found in the Caribbean. Through the use of spices, unique and flavorful chicken creations have been a center of the plate focus for 2013.

As spices continue to trend, operators are focusing more on bold, “spicy” flavors that bring the heat. Research shows that consumers are becoming much more knowledgeable on chili varieties and are looking for more heat-giving flavor profiles.

Over the past few years, the demand for spicy foods has increased, especially among millennials as well as the amount of menus descriptions for “spicy” foods. Strong spicy flavors tweak levels of heat and enhance savory and sweet notes. Hot spices allow operators to keep up with consumer demand while turning a blasé dish into an explosion of flavor.

The endless versatility and often-fiery flavor of spices has led to the popularity of spices around the world. Led by the spice revolution, ethnic inspired dishes are appearing on menus across the country. Spices in ethnic cuisine draws out spicy, savory, roasted and unique worldly flavors. For example, dukkah is a popular Middle Eastern spice blend that is becoming common in the United States. Made with toasted nuts, cumin, coriander and sesame seeds, dukkah has a great textural aspect and produces a rich and savory flavor that engages customers and keeps them coming back for more.

The spice trend will continue to grow as the American culinary palate evolves and people develop a taste for bolder, more unique flavor profiles in search for their next gastronomic adventure. With unmatched versatility and a variety of health benefits, spices are an easy, cost-effective way to keep up with culinary trends and enhance any menu. Whether operators choose to create spicy chicken entrees, or bold, flavorful ethnic dishes, spices are the perfect option to keep up with consumer demand.

Content courtesy of Perdue Foodservice

Sources:
“Dukkah, Cajeta, Katsu: Come Soon to Foods Near You?,” Reuters, December 5th 2012
“Flavor Trends Go Global in 2012,” Monkey Dish, January 2012
“How to Spice Up Your Plate for Flavor and Health Benefits,” New York Daily News, September 5, 2013
“Meat and Spice for the Millennial Snacker: Euromonitor Talks NPD Trend,” BakeryandSnack.com, May 24, 2013
“Restaurants Dial Up the Heat,” Technomic, August 2013
“Restaurants’ Hottest Herbs and Spices,” Nation’s Restaurant News, February 3, 2012
“The Spice of Life: New Insights on Flavor,” Aimee Harvey, October 2011
“Spices at the Hub of Positive Trends,” Facts, Figures & the Future, June 2013
“Spicy Foods Kick Up Restaurant Menus,” Nation’s Restaurant News, June 12, 2013
“Top Chefs on Today’s American Cuisine,” Nation’s Restaurant News, March 30, 2012

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