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Spice Trends Go Global

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There has always been a strong connection between the foods of other countries and wellness. American consumers in particular love the various components of global cuisine. Such foods often have simple, ingredients like fresh spices and ancient grains. Many of today’s hot new products, from snacks (falafel chips) to frozen entrees (vegetable korma) are inspired by (or a direct descendant of) faraway foods.

McCormick Spices — which has published its annual Flavor Forecast for 12 years now — has noticed the irrevocable shift towards global cuisine, and is looking beyond out own boarders as well in compiling this year’s forecast.

Among the trends McCormick’s panel of experts found for 2012 are several that tie in nicely with health and wellness.  One is “Veggies in Vogue,” exemplified by flavor combinations ranging from eggplant with honey and harissa to squash with red curry and pancetta.

Likewise, there’s a focus on simplicity — the foundation of most ethnic cuisines — with dishes like ginger with coconut or vanilla with butter. Swapping in the name of health is also key: Red tea with cinnamon and plum creates a healthful beverage containing fruit and spice.

“Balancing bold flavor with hunger for health is key to achieving wellness goals, without sacrificing enjoyment,” the researchers wrote.

Perhaps the most telling trend, however, is the one that knocks down the boundaries and blended various elements from different cultures. That’s how the trend team came up with sweet soy with tamarind and black pepper, and blueberry with cardamom and corn masa. If only people could get along so well.

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