DIRECT-TO- CONSUMER EXOTIC TASTES
Consumer Trend Thursdays
January 8th, 2019
If, this year, your holiday cooking is making more use of sumac, miso and curry powder in place of rosemary and thyme, then you’re already attuned to the growing demand for once rare and exotic flavors on our tables.
So, What’s Fueling This Trend?
—For consumers, food is another way to connect with, and experience, new places and cultures. “There’s a demand for these flavors as the world goes more global and frontiers break down,” says Betsy Fox, co-founder of Snuk foods, an online retailer that curates and sells a wide selection of these ingredients.
—Much like how yoga and meditation caught on as wellness trends, non-Western foods are also gaining popularity for their purported health benefits as well as amped up flavors. For example, turmeric, a rhizome, which is used both fresh and in powder form, is touted as an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Sumac, a deep red spice with a tart lemon flavor, and popular in Persian and Middle Eastern cooking, is packed with antioxidants. Ghee, a clarified butter common in Indian cuisine, is rich in healthy fatty acids linked to improved digestion—not to mention boasts a higher smoking point than butter making it better suited for higher temperature cooking.
The Must-Have Conversation
Consumers are becoming more conscious of what’s on their plates, which often means higher standards for transparency around where their food comes from and who’s creating it. It also means exciting new flavors that pack a health punch.
This is a boon for artisanal products that make up the “small” or “specialty” food industry as they grab a growing market share from big name brand food producers. Specialty products now take up almost 16 percent of the retail food market and have generated $140.3 billion in value in 2017.
“People want the best of the best,” says Fox. And today, getting the “best” is just a click, rather than a journey on the Silk Road, away.
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