Spice Up Your Store

May 26, 2011

Promoting the health benefits of spices is a great way to get shoppers eating more healthfully while also cutting sodium consumption.

As we continue to explore where our foods come from and the various health benefits they possess, The Lempert Report suspects that many shoppers may have never stopped to think about the spices in the pantry beyond the great flavor they impart onto food. Herbs and spices devoid of advertising campaigns show tremendous promise in the prevention and maintenance of good health; lending itself to excellent marketing opportunities for supermarkets and CPGs to use both on packaging and in-store signage and promotions. Here are a few popular spices and their benefits. 
Ginger is not just great in stir-fries; it exhibits antioxidant effects and the ability to lessen the formation of inflammation in the brain (similar to turmeric). Gingerol is the compound responsible for ginger’s many benefits including the ability to significantly help with nausea, vomiting, and morning sickness. It is a powerful antioxidant and is thought to relax blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and relieve pain.
Sage does more than just season the Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, sage is thought to be a great brain food. A British research team looked into sage’s therapeutic properties and memory and found that those who consumed sage oil performed significantly better at memory tests than the placebo. The sage group also demonstrated improvements in both immediate and delayed word recall scores and reported improved mood.
Here’s another reason to add Indian curries to the prepared foods section of the store which 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 as a healing aid. 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.
Rosemary, the pine-like herb, offers anti-inflammatory protection to the delicate human brain and is thought to improve concentration. In winter, a rosemary bush inside the house acts as a natural air freshener and “cleaner” along with being convenient for cooking. Rosemary halts gene mutations that could lead to cancer and may help prevent damage to our circulatory system thereby reducing risk for cardiovascular complications.
The addition of spices can benefit the taste of almost any food and can help curb salt usage. Encourage customers to add some chili pepper, cumin or turmeric to mashed potatoes, rice or quinoa. Sprinkle oregano or rosemary on salad or use it directly in the dressing, and try sprinkling yogurt with cinnamon and ginger. Herbs and spices can be added to virtually any dish. In store demonstrations are also great as they show customers how easy it is to add spice to every meal. After all, adding spice means adding a wealth of health benefits and flavor.
Do note that herbs and spices can sometimes cause trouble for allergy sufferers as anti-caking agents are used in some brands that may contain wheat or other allergens. Staff should be aware of this. Check the brand websites for more information, but do keep in mind that most reputable brands should be allergy friendly.