As 2018 draws to a close, many predictions for the coming year are being published. For restauranteurs, foodies and amateur chefs, it’s always a delight to see forecasts for what new ingredients, cooking methods or types of cuisine are going to dominate the year of cooking ahead. After years of cooking heavy with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spices, here are our 2019 food trend predictions.
Global flavors will continue dominating dishes
We expect that global and exotic flavors will continue to grow in popularity. There may be a shift away from Mediterranean flavors, but some Middle Eastern flavors may remain popular. Cumin, tahini and sumac continue to rank high on chef preference lists. In general, the trend towards fiery, spicy foods shows no sign of slowing. This bodes well for continued growth in Mexican and North African spices.
Spice blends continue saving time & money for professional chefs, home cooks, and more
The use of spice blends is also on the rise. Morocco’s Ras El-Hanout and Ethiopia’s Berbere don’t have a set recipe but feature a mix of spices including coriander, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon, paprika, cardamom, ginger and turmeric. Japanese Shichimi Togarashi (seven spice mix) could also be a popular flavoring option with its black peppercorns, red chili, garlic, ginger, nori and white and black sesame seed make-up. Grocery stores are starting to carry these blends, but it’s always a treat to bring the blends direct from their country of origin if possible.
Superfoods aren’t going anywhere
We also predict that the growing consciousness around healthy foods and health benefits from spices will continue to grow. This could boost the demand for spices such as turmeric, sage, holy basil, ginger, lemongrass and rosemary. As consumers embrace natural flavors and clean-label products, its likely that natural products such as spices will be used in more and more products, from snacks to meals to drinks.
Plant-based diets remain in 2019
There is also growing momentum in the plant-based food movement. Even people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian are recognizing the importance on their health and the environment of consuming less animal-based protein. This shift to more meat-free days could also boost spice consumption, as many of these plant products pair nicely with additional seasoning.
None of these are guarantees, and we’ve certainly missed some trends in the past. Part of this prediction may even be wishful thinking given that we are big fans of dynamic, rich and varied spices used on the African continent. How about you? Do you have any predictions for the coming year around food and spice trends?
Many trends have already come and gone this year, but as we look back on some of the best in the food industry, these are the ones that stand out.
Mediterranean Ingredients Make Waves in Middle East Dishes
The Mediterranean flavor profile is one that’s often thought of as classic, timeless, and very much traditional. However, it managed to find its way into this year’s food trends as cooks put a whole new spin on some of the Middle Eastern spices we all know and love.
Partially fueled by the Presidential Administration’s threat to end trade between the United States and Middle Eastern countries, the use of Middle Eastern spices gained popularity. Za’atar is one of those spices, and ingredients from the Middle East have also been steadily gaining ground.
Since 2015, the use of mint in beverages has almost doubled, and dates, pistachios, and other regional ingredients have also continued to spread into standard dishes served up in the USA and beyond.
Superfoods Add A Pop of Color
Sumac comes from the Rhus coriaria plant and is dried then ground and used as a cooking spice. It’s popular in Southern Asian cuisine, and the Middle East, thanks to not only its reddish purple color and the sour flavor but also for its powerful dose of protein and antioxidants.
It is no surprise that sumac grew in popularity throughout the year, especially for its use by health conscious individuals who continue to strive to get the most out of every ingredient possible. In the past few years, the number of restaurant dishes using Sumac has grown by 34%.
However, Sumac is far from the only spice that’s taking off for its use as a superfood. Algae has been used more and more for its health benefits along with its ability to create a green hue.
Spicing Up Menus With New (And Old) Blends
From the Japanese Togarashi to Berbere from Ethiopia, spice blends have truly taken off this year. Chefs of all calibers are turning to pre-made spice blends to help promote consistency and cut down labor in the kitchen.
BLEND OF THE YEAR: Ras el Hanout
Considering that nearly 1/3 of consumers say they’re interested in trying more seasonings hailing from Africa, it’s really no surprise that Ras el hanout also makes the trends list.
Coming out of North Africa, Ras el hanout is a blend of ginger, cumin, and cardamom. It has been showcased on menus throughout the year as part of soups, Moroccan tagines, lamb and veggie dishes! We think trying it in cous cous is especially awesome!
Hello December – it’s nice to see you. But real quick: where did the year go? We’ve been busy in 2018…between moving our operation to a brand new, state-of-the-art facility, launching all new retail products and being featured in tons of top Denver publications, this year has flown by. We were lucky enough to be named BEST DENVER GIFTS this year by both @5280Magazine and @303magazine. To be honest, we couldn’t agree more, we’ve been striving to offer nothing but the best since day 1. See some of our favorite features from the year below:
Zach scored a nod in Denver Life’s article on innovators in the Denver food scene. Being among brands like Izzio and Noosa has us humbled beyond belief. Thanks to the folks over there and check out the article here.
This was a very cool feature from our friends at 5280 about our Buffalo Bill’s Black Gold product. If you haven’t spiced with activated charcoal, what are you waiting for? Get over to our e-commerce store and order some in time for that Pork Tenderloin you’ll have on Christmas Day. That one is also included in our Rack-In-A-Box.
(while supplies last)
A word from Zach on this front: “EY Entrepreneur Of The Year? I guess I could sum things up by saying I normally wouldn’t be allowed in a lot of the country clubs and events if it weren’t for the nomination. Humbled doesn’t begin to describe the way I felt among the other nominees. Turns out working hard pays off!” – See the full article here.
We love the folks over at 303 so it was a dope surprise to have our spices included in their 303 Holiday Gift Guide. We spy some real bangers in their photo above. Did you know from now until December 31st we’re doing BUY 3, GET 1 FREE on all 1/4 lb. jars at thespiceguyco.com? Score what you see in the photo or mix-and-match to swoop the perfect combo. (*end sales rant*)
There are plenty of sayings and idioms that have solidified their spot in our language, but people often find that the phrase “worth one’s salt” or “worth your weight in salt” has an elusive meaning.
This saying actually dates back to ancient times when many roads and trade routes were developed by a market known as the salt trade. The salt trade was just what it sounds, a period in time before salt deposits were found to be readily available around the world, so merchants would travel far and wide selling salt to villages.
However, this salt wasn’t being carried such long distances just for because it was a tasty addition to just about every dish. Back then, salt was mainly used as a means for preservation, and it actually represented great power and value.
Without salt, armies wouldn’t be able to carry their rations for such long distances and explorers wouldn’t have been able to sail to new lands.
Salt really enabled society to expand. And, during those times when extraction methods were particularly tricky, salt was considered even more valuable. So, to say that someone is “worth one’s salt,” it’s a statement that acknowledges that they are competent, deserving, and–to put it simply–worthwhile. If a boss were to say it to an employee, it would be meant as a compliment, confirming that the employee is a valuable part of the team and they deserve their salary.
In fact, the phrase itself is thought to be rooted in Ancient Rome where soldiers were sometimes paid with salt or given an allowance to purchase salt. Similarly, if a person uses the phrase “worth its weight in salt,” to describe an object, they are expressing that they think the item is worth the price they paid or that it otherwise holds immense value to them.
A tailgate box exclusive! It may not feel like it’s time yet, but fall will be here before you know it. Nothing says, “I want to feed a crowd, but I don’t want to do a ton of dishes,” like chili. You’ve got this one in the bag, no matter how many beers you have on board. One pot, one spice blend. Use this to replace the spices in your favorite chili recipe.
Mango Chipotle Rub
Great on wings, grilled fruit, fish tacos and more, Mango Chipotle is for the folks who like to kick their tailgate game up a notch. If you like to switch up your weekend tailgating menu as much as Tennessee likes to swap coaches, this is the blend for you.
We also threw in another tailgate box exclusive — a dime bag of our nacho cheese blend (!!) You know, in case of emergencies. It’s for when your team’s really letting you down. Great on chips, popcorn, nachos, sauces and straight with your hands. (Just kidding… sort of.)
Like football season, this box won’t be here for long. Whether you’re the Saban of hosting tailgates or the mooch that owes the host a thank-you gift, there’s someone in your life that needs the tailgate box. Grab yours here.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for The Spice Guy team. Not only did we move into a new space (photos and details coming soon!), we’ve also had some exciting invitations come our way — the FOX31 KDVR.com morning show and a nomination for the Ernst & Young regional Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Here’s how it all shook out.
Fox 31 KDVR Morning News
This week Zach was invited to join the Fox morning show team to talk about The Spice Guy and share some recipes for the summer. He cooked some salmon on air using our newest blend — French Kiss — and started cooking a beet salad before they ran out of time! See the full video below – and watch out for that beet salad cliffhanger at the end. We promise to share the recipe soon.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Nomination
A few weeks ago, Ernst & Young approached Zach to let him know that he’s been nominated for their Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Mountain Desert region and encouraged him to complete the application process — including an interview and cocktail hour that he and his wife Randi attended (pictured above with the upcoming #SpiceSpiceBaby in tow!)
Zach explained the process to us.
“The application process was actually kind of lengthy compared to what I thought it was going to be,” he said. “They honestly do vet out these companies that they choose really well and they want to make sure that you’re running good business and that it’s not just all smoke and mirrors.”
Although there’s some tough competition, we’re rooting for Zach while also recognizing what an accomplishment it is to even be nominated.
“I’m honestly still so surprised when anyone nominates me for anything,” he added. “What I think most people don’t realize is that 3.5 years ago we were working out of our garage. Just trying to figure out how we could deliver all of these spices out of the back of a 4 door Subaru Impreza. It’s not very often that I take a step back and look at everything we’ve built as a team over the last few years, but this kind of nomination really does that for you and forces you to look at what you and your team have built. Ultimately, I think it left me feeling proud that all the hard work that the team and I have put in is starting to pay off.”
Keep your fingers crossed for Zach – we’ll find out about the winners in a few weeks! As always, thanks for your support.
I'm Zach. In 2013, I started selling spices to restaurants in Colorado. Today, THE SPICE GUY is growing faster than I could have imagined. This blog is where our team shares recipes, tips, interviews with influential food folks and more.