Global Spices Bring the World to Your Table

March 12, 2015

CHICAGO—For a trip around the world, look no further than your spice rack says senior associate editor Karen Nachay in her article about how authentic global ingredients and spices from around the world are reflected in menu options and packaged foods. This article is in the March issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

Herbs and spices offer different taste sensations like heat, sweet, umami, herbaceous, warm, smoke, and more. In packaged goods, smoked ingredients like chili peppers, salt, and ground pepper as well as different types of woods like hickory, alderwood, and applewood each produce a unique smoke flavor that manufacturers can call out on the package label. Smoking spices and herbs deepens their flavor and aroma, bringing a new depth of flavor to foods and beverages. Combining ingredients like coarse salt, spices, herbs and sour-tasting ingredients like pickled ginger, sour cherry, dried mango and lemon zest gives food an acidic kick, salty taste, and subtle flavor.

Consumer’s palates are more mature than in the past and are looking for more of a spicy flavor profile in their foods from entrees to side dishes. Manufacturers continue to open up access to these flavors by creating spice blends inspired by the cuisines of India, Thailand, Morocco, Latin America, and more as the base for everything from chips, dry mixes to prepared foods.

Asian, Middle Eastern, and South American cuisines are more familiar and approachable to consumers thanks to the popularity of cooking and food-related television shows. More uncommon Middle Eastern herbs and spice blends like dukkah, ras el anout (a combination of up to 20 different spices), and za’atar are just a few ingredients that are increasing in popularity due to the increasing number of Middle Eastern cookbooks and Mediterranean chain restaurants opening. Black garlic is an example of a common packaged Asian ingredient that is finding favor with American chefs at fine dining establishments.

Read the full article in Food Technology here

About IFT
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