Plate Post


Spices & Seasonings, especially Indian, African, and Latin, are rising in sales.

Condiments and sauces are a given way to enhance foods and introduce new global flavors. Familiar comforting condiments such as mayonnaise and ketchup, can soften bold new flavors making them not so intimidating to the newly inquisitive diner. Even on our retail shelves we see wasabi mayonnaise, sriracha, and ghost pepper ketchup and pesto and ginger flavors in our condiments. Other “foodies” and consumers anxiously gravitate to new spicy and highly-flavored sauces with enthusiasm.

In this age of flavor innovation, guests are excited to try global mash-ups layered with new tastes. Chefs eagerly meet this demand for flavor depth and complexity, but with thoughtful execution. It’s important not to forget the consumer’s comfort level. For example, blending multiple familiar condiments is a simple way to create a new flavor adventure for consumers just venturing out of their comfort zone.

Sauces, condiments, and dressings give meals their own distinction. Interest in new ethnic cuisines and cooking techniques increases flavor. Smoking, charring, cooking in ash all add heightened flavor to foods. Serving a romesco sauce made with blistered or ash-roasted peppers can make a difference in flavor and the guests’ perception of the sauce.

New ethnic spices, chili pastes, chili peppers and seasoning blends are coming into our pantries. Aji panca chili from Peru, cascabel and hatch from Mexico, peri peri from Africa and urfa chili from Turkey each impart not only heat, but their own unique flavor. Paring with sweet ingredients coconut, agave or a floral honey helps to balance their flavor.

North African spices Dukkah from Egypt, Berbere from Ethiopia, sumac and za’atar from the Middle East and harissa add heat as well as different citrus, and nutty flavors to condiments and sauces. Italian ndjua is used as a spread and an ingredient. Asian sambal, togarashi, gochuchang and furikake are only a few Asian flavors predicted to continue making to made inroads in development in 2018.


Palate post

“People love sweet, but they want alternative sweeteners. Fruit Purees are a hot way to do it. Borrow from cocktail trends and infuse those flavors into a vinaigrette. “Katie Sutton, VP of Culinary Innovation for Food & Drink Resources.

  • “For years, chain chefs have addressed value through portion size, but that has been problematic. Today, the value perception is switching to flavor impact. Condiments fix the enormous problem that a lot of high-volume chefs’ face: food becoming way too familiar across the board.” Chef Andrew Hunter of Andrew Hunter Culinary Development
  • “You want to use condiments in as many ways as you can without repetition of experience. Play up a mainstream popularity with a signature approach. For example, add beet powder and smashed raspberries into mustard and use it as a dip or spread.” Chef Rob Corless, All Things Epicurean
  • “Be aware that while consumers
    want to explore ethnic cuisines
    and flavor fusions, they are also
    looking for better-for-you
    dietary choices.” Kate Leahy,
    Sunsweet Ingredients

THE PROS: What they are saying about sauces and condiments

sesame and ginger. Middleastern is more fragrant with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and garlic. Culinology 9/2017

  • Research from Chicago-based Mintel International suggests that nearly half of Americans who visit restaurants consider themselves to be “foodies,” including 68% of consumers age 25 to 34. As food enthusiasts who are typically on the forefront of trending dishes and cuisines, foodies display dramatically different attitudes and interests than non-foodies in what they would like to see more of at restaurants. 91% of foodies agree that they like to experience new flavors when dining out, as compared with 56% of non-foodies.
  • These “food hobbyists” are on the lookout for new types of foods with some 86% of foodies interested in learning more about international food. The curiosity continues when they grocery shop. Mintel
  • In dollars, the total the total spices and seasonings shipped from broadline distributors to restautants and other foodservice outlets for the year ending in March increased 7%. Among the top spices were tikka masala and yellow curry (up 11%), and chili peppers like Aleppo and habanero (up 12%). NPD Group 10/2017
  • Ongoing multicultural changes in the United States led to tremendous growth in the hot sauce market from 2011-2016, as adventourous Millennials sought out new flavors. Spicy foods and sauces became incredibly popular. Packaged Facts 2017
  • According to the annual flavor forecast from McCormick & Co., Hunt Valley, Md., America’s love for spicy flavors is taking on an evolutionary twist with tangy accents for more multicultural flavor combinations
  • Consider sauces and condiments for healthy eating. Consumers focused on health may cut out certain sauces and condiments based on the perception they may have added salt, sugars and preservatives. Having less of these ingredients in products may appeal to older consumer who may have age-related health concerns. Packaged Facts 2017
  • Regional barbecue sauces from the Carolinas, St. Louis, Kansas City and Texas showed healthy growth in the past five years. Consumers tried more flavors, especially spicier varieties. Culinology 9/2017
  • Barbecue from around the world is making inroads in America. Latin American with red chilies and cilantro, Korean with black and chili peppers, gochujang, soy,

FACTS: Here’s what you need to know

Sauce and condiment development is about adding a new layer of flavor to a dish. Delving into global cuisine only enhances this culinary exploration. In talking with chefs and consumers from other countries, we can create our own inspirations in developing foods. This ethnic and culinary diversity only makes our palates and the world a more beautiful place.

  • “I’m finding that flavor fusions are becoming very popular in modern American cuisine and Middle Eastern spices and flavors are particularly hot right now. The world is becoming flatter and flavors and ingredients we would have never been exposed to are now at our fingertips through Amazon
    or even meal kits.
    Customers now have an
    opportunity to step outside
    of their comfort zone.”
    Jessica Goldstein, VP
    Marketing and Sales Nu
    Products Seasoning Co.
  • “Sophisticated chili pepper and fruit combinations are quite popular. Consumer preferences are switching from burning heat to medium/mild heat with interesting background flavors.” Jean Shieh, Sensient Natural Ingredients
  • “Floral notes are beginning to trend across the sauces category. We’ve seen their popularity grow in the beverage segment with hibiscus, cherry blossom and lavender, and all three of these flavors compliment sauces. Their subtle flavor notes are difficult to identify, but create a premium experience.” Roger Lane, Sensient Flavors