Herbs & Spices

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Ever wonder why the vast majority of soft drinks are just traditional colas, root beers, seltzers? Why juices typically only incorporate fruit and vegetable profiles? Well, not anymore. In recent months the beverage industry has seen a marked increase in products incorporating more interesting twists on traditional flavor profiles, in the form of herbs and spices. Brands like BluePrint have added notes of cayenne to their lemon and agave juice, while rival juice company Suja offers varieties incorporating turmeric and nutmeg spices; soft drink brand Joia’s products include flavors like ginger, allspice, and nutmeg in glass-bottled sodas. Even Starbucks’ newer line of Fizzio handcrafted sodas has incorporated the spice trend by offering a Golden Ginger Ale with “real ginger with citrus and brown sugar”, as well as small batch root beer brewed with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg flavors.

Popular in this emerging herb and spice trend is the element of heat – adding a little extra fire to a food or beverage product. An example of this is Tio, which just recently began offering a bottled beverage version of traditional Spanish gazpacho! The beverages contain different elements of heat in the soup/drink blends, from green peppers to jalapenos to cumin. Tabasco Brand also offers “spicy chocolate” wedges, each infused with Tabasco red pepper flavoring to give your plain old dark chocolate a little extra kick. We’ve also seen a rise in beer offerings that include habanero, ancho and chipotle flavors paired with sweeter flavors such as fruits, vanilla and cinnamon.

In addition to Tabasco’s spicy chocolates, we’ve seen the herb and spice trend permeate the larger snack aisle passed the simple baked vegetable snacks that have accompanied the market’s “kale craze”. For example, emerging brand Mediterra recently premiered a savory meal bar in sundried tomato & basil and black olives & walnuts varieties. The more typical approach for meal bars usually includes fruit and nut flavor combinations, but this brand has taken the market by surprise by bringing our favorite salad additions to the snack food aisle. Popular health brand KIND also leverages the trend with their STRONG & KIND line, including spices like honey mustard and Thai chili in their nut bars.

What’s next for herbs and spices? Who knows, but maybe we’ll start to see some more cumin-infused orange juices, or lemonades with BBQ spices. Perhaps herb and spice blend specialty companies, like McCormick and Old Bay, will begin to enter the beverage space by leveraging their areas of flavor expertise to create savory juices and sodas!

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