Spice It Up For Summertime

The Lempert Report
May 11, 2015

Retailers should make the most of the flavor trend and emphasize spices and seasonings.

Consumers are experimenting more with flavors, perhaps a stronger interest in what their fellow multicultural shoppers are eating?  Or perhaps, thanks to the strong dollar, an increase in traveling abroad. But whatever is it, there’s a growing trend with global cuisines being replicated at home. These trends drive mainstream demand for different tastes among general market consumers.  

In a recent article in our own, Facts, Figures & The Future (F3) we pointed out that, according to Nielsen data,  U.S. already has more than 120 million Hispanics, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and other groups growing by 2.3 million per year,  and these young groups already comprise 38% of the nation’s populace. They are today’s fastest-growing segments, forecast by Census to be in the majority by the year 2044.

Furthermore, since the recession, new and unique flavor combinations have provoked more eating at home. Nielsen notes that, continued demand is visible in the annual unit and dollar sales which have risen for the “herb and spice seasonings” category for the past three years. “Spices” is the largest segment at $877.1 million, up 3.5% in dollar sales in the latest 12 months. “Seasoned blends” is the #2 segment at $651.8 million, up 5.4% in dollar sales in the latest 12 months.

“Garlic products” is the #3 segment at $417.6 million, up 3.3% in dollar sales in the latest 12 months,

Spices are a simple way to add desired tastes, even for the time-pressed, consumer who wants a quick and easy meal. The past four years of findings from the yearly SupermarketGuru-National Grocers Association Consumer Survey Report show only a slight majority of U.S. adults feel “confident in the kitchen"; the 2015 figure is 57.6%. But more than one-third (37.7%) do “like to experiment” and one-quarter (24.2%) can “follow simple recipes.”  Such data makes an obvious case for the appeal of spices and seasonings.

With Memorial Day right around the corner and months of outdoor grilling ahead, now seems the time for retailers to kick off a spicy grilling season. Supermarkets could offer displays with easy recipe ideas and tips on some basic flavor combinations. The McCormick.com website suggests dozens of choices, among them: Mojito Lime Striped Bass, Grilled Vegetable Antipasto Bruschetta, and the Vietnamese Banh Mi Burger with Srirachi Mayo. Furthermore, health tips using spices are part of its Flavor MyPlate program. Appeal to consumers with this growing trend in innovative tastes and help shoppers create new, easy meals for a fun and flavorful summer!