People eating smarter and tastier may replace sodium, sweets and fats with spices.
Spices are at the center of the eat-healthier movement—for what they add to the American diet and help remove from it. The more spices people eat, potentially the less sodium, sweeteners and fats they use to flavor their foods. And now that spring has sprung, spices can be a great addition to the plethora of spring produce in season.
To promote more fresh fruit and vegetable consumption and help relieve meal tedium at home, we suggest that supermarkets cross-merchandise spices with perishables beyond the expected meat and seafood. Stores that partner spices with produce (think cinnamon on sweet potatoes, basil and oregano on broccoli, cumin on sliced zucchini) could be seen as more innovative, health-driven and customer-focused—and could encourage more attentive trips where people seek these ideas.
To inspire you, we’ve put a list together of some spices found in this year’s food trends:
Lemongrass. Filipino cuisine, you may have noticed has become quite popular. And while this type of cuisine uses a lot of ginger, garlic and chili, another shining star in this type of food is lemongrass. This spice is known to help with a wide range of illness including relief from stomach aches, insomnia, respiratory disorders, fever, infections, detoxification, optimizing cholesterol levels and more. Teach your shoppers all about using this spice as a way to add flavor to stir fry veggies.
Coriander. Have you tried Harissa sauce or even seen it more and more on menus? This is a common sauce used in North African dishes. And it goes great with roasted vegetables. One of the main spice ingredients is coriander, and this spice is loaded with health benefits such as lowering blood sugar, lower blood pressure, preventing neurological disease and inflammation, helping with urinary tract infections and more.
Aji Panca. Your shoppers may love to learn about this unsuspecting spice in the chile family. It’s hot, but not scary! Often used in Peruvian dishes, this smoky, fruity spice goes well with stone fruits and citrus fruits, probably on account of its blueberry flavor. This spice is a close relative to Aji Amarillo, and can be beneficial in helping with cold and flu relief. assisting in weight loss, lowering cholesterol and more.
Amchoor (Mango Powder). This spice most commonly used in Indian dishes has a diverse profile. Made from dried unripe mangoes, it can be used in with veggies, fruits and legumes. And since homemade condiments are hot, this is one to promote for making chutneys, pickles, marinades and curries. Traditionally this spice has been used to treat anemia, nervous system disorders, diarrhea, and help with eliminating toxins.
Turmeric. This trendy spice is another reason to enjoy Indian curries; curries typically contain turmeric, a deep yellow/orange colored spice that has been used for countless centuries not only as a spice but also in traditional Asian medicine for healing. Traditional medicine has “prescribed” turmeric to help gastrointestinal problems, arthritic pain, and a lack of energy; in recent years, scientists have found that the polyphenol curcumin (responsible for turmeric’s color) may protect and heal due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are also thought to benefit blood flow to the brain, inhibiting and reducing plaque build up, thus showing promise in the prevention of diseases like Alzheimer’s.