Heat and spice has been a flavor mega trend over the last year, particularly in snacks, and one most believe will stay for 2014 but see new twists.
“Spices continue to be increasing on a per person consumption basis throughout the US with strong emphasis on more pungent or more spicy, pepper-type bite, and we see that continuing on into the future,” said Paul Kurpe, senior vice president of Elite Spice.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com at last month’s Snaxpo 2014 in Dallas, Texas, Kurpe said the centuries-old interest in spices was not going to slow, particularly as consumers continued to eat leaner, lower caloric foods that needed increased flavor profiles and taste.
However, he said there would be more variety in 2014 and it was about, “keeping up with the varieties”.
“For example, smoked paprika; it’s more of a derivation on the theme of paprika. Some of our people have even looked into roasting the actual spices to use or develop what is a reaction flavor,” he said.
“We haven’t got very far, but it’s an area we’re looking at.”
Kurpe said the flavor profile of a spice once roasted was entirely different as the naturally occurring sugars in the spices caramelized. “Think of it no more complicated than bread and toast. If you were to take a piece of bread and bake it, roast it or toast it, obviously its flavor profile changes considerably.”
Challenges of roasting spices
However, Kurpe said that roasting spices was not without its challenges.
“It’s a little difficult. Part of the challenge is controlling the cook process, and that’s not so easy to do,” he said.
There were different levels of roasting from light to medium or dark, he said, that proved difficult to assess on a mass-scale.
Adding zest with citrus
Use of citrus fruits was another area the company was looking into, he said.
“We’re doing more with citrus items, and you don’t think of that in the spice business, but lemon, orange and lime peels, for example, is an area we’re doing more with.”
Snack maker Snyder’s-Lance recently told this site that the future of exotic, ethnic snack flavors needed to go beyond hot and spicy.
“We do not simply want to do what every manufacturer does and simply turn up the heat with tried and true spices. We developed very creative bold flavor combinations that bring exciting, authentic flavors and not just heat,” said Eric Van De Wal, vice president of marketing innovation for Snyder’s-Lance.