2017 Grocerant Hot Trend #3: Flavor Notes


Now that Sriracha is almost as common as ketchup and salsa, spice addicts need their next big hit, and many experts predict it will come in the form of a spice mix.  According to restaurant consultant Baum + Whiteman, there’s “no question that America’s pepperheads demand ever-increasing levels of spice. And the more different spices in a single dish, the better they like it.” The company cites Innova Market Insights reporting that use of cayenne pepper rose 47 percent in global product launches last year. Other trending spices include caraway (up 40 percent), saffron (up 31 percent), horseradish (up 29 percent) and turmeric (up 21 percent).

Likewise, the culinary experts at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants made “Turning Up the Heat” and “Spicing It Up” two of their Top 5 food trends for 2017, citing cardamom, cumin and turmeric as particularly popular.

Ketchum PR firm’s Food B2B, an integrated marketing agency focused on foodservice and ingredient businesses, calls the trend “spicestacking” and sees it as a new way to personalize food and add nutritional and health benefits in 2017. Ketchum predicts consumers and health experts will pick the needed nutrients first, then reach for the spice.

Global cuisines provide a world of appealing spice mixes for heat seekers to try, and menu research firm Datassential has compiled a list of 15 flavor trends to watch in 2017 as a good primer. Egyptian dukkah—a blend of cumin, coriander, thyme, mint and pepper with toasted nuts and seeds like hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds—is one of the highest-scoring ingredients on Datassential’s What’s Hot menu index. Chermoula, which Datassential describes as a North African version of pesto or chimichurri, is also on consumers’ radar, as are zhug, a Yemeni hot sauce ubiquitous in Israel, and Indonesian sambal sauces and relishes.

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Samples of olive oil and global spice blends with bread for dipping
  • Monthly specials with sandwich condiments, salad dressings and sauces inspired by different regional spice blends
  • A house spice blend for made-in-store pickles and dry rubs
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