Spices have always played a critical role in modern cuisine and the evolution of the food and beverage industry. 

In recent years, the use of spices has been greatly influenced by a few overarching flavor trends. As the market shifts, we’re seeing an increased demand for dishes that feature exotic flavors, products that are plant-based and/or promote wellness benefits, and foods with a low environmental impact. Advancements in technology have also influenced spice production and flavor development. These trends are greatly influencing the way we use spices across the food industry.

In this article, we will examine how trends in modern cuisine and technology are working together to shape the future of spices. 


Culinary Fusion Drives Flavor Experimentation

As our world becomes increasingly connected, consumers are showing interest in global cuisines, spices, and flavors. Grocery store shelves and restaurant menus across America are filling up with foods that feature exotic flavors, promising to take consumers on a culinary adventure. This trend has led to more experimentation in the kitchen, and more mainstream accessibility to global flavors. 

Ethnic fusion cuisines have taken center stage, bridging the gap between the familiar and unfamiliar. Fusion cuisines allow consumers to experience their favorite foods in new ways, leading to familiar yet innovative and engaging dishes. Innova’s consumer trend research  indicates that this interest in adventurous and exotic flavors is mainly driven by younger (Gen Z and Millennial) consumers, while older customers seem to be more inclined toward familiar flavors.

It’s easy to give traditional dishes a novel twist by simply utilizing traditional spice blends from around the world. We have a library of international spice blends and a team of flavor experts at PSC, and we would love to help you embrace this trend. Contact us about your next culinary fusion project. 


Wellness Trends Promote Functional Spices 

According to Euromonitor International’s Health and Wellness Report, consumers are showing a growing interest in foods that promote health and wellness benefits, as well as plant-based products, and organic products. The report suggests that these interests mainly stem from concerns about sustainability and the environment, and the desire for products that supplement a healthy lifestyle. 

The health and wellness trend has significantly shaped the future of spices in modern cuisine. Many herbs and spices have been used in plant medicine for years, and the emphasis on functional wellness has brought their nutritional significance into the spotlight. 

Turmeric and ginger are just a couple of spices that are widely recognized for their potential health benefits, and have become a common choice for everything from beverages, to snacks, and even desserts. Spices like these are gaining traction in foodservice and prepared meals, and are often used to highlight “healthier” menu options. 

Golden Milk (Turmeric) lattes in particular are showing increased sales, appealing to both the wellness trend and the growing appeal for international foods and flavors. This further emphasizes the growing interest in turmeric as a functional ingredient, and supports Mintel’s report suggestion that minimally processed foods with recognizable health benefits will be well-received.  

In related news, scientists are working to support the wellness trend using spices. Researchers are perfecting natural food preservatives made from extracted plant polyphenols, designed to provide a healthier alternative to chemical preservatives for health-conscious consumers. There has also been new research around how flavor is perceived, based on the combination of taste and aroma. This research aims to use spices such as bay leaf and turmeric to enhance the perception of saltiness without increasing salt content. 

Modern food manufacturers and professional kitchens are encouraged to embrace the wellness trend by offering cuisine that features functional spices with minimal processing and preservatives. If you’d like some inspiration, here are three ways to add turmeric to your menu.


Technology Informs Spice Innovation

AI Technology is also playing a significant role in shaping our relationship with spices. 

Recent advancements in technology enable it to identify new and unexpected spice combinations based on flavor compounds, consumer preferences, and culinary trends, in order to push the boundaries of flavor and meet the ever-changing demands of the market. Furthermore, technology has played an exciting role in creating personalized nutrition plans that are designed to work with all dietary restrictions and preferences, all while optimizing nutritional value. 

Advancements in technology have helped farmers optimize their agriculture techniques, harvesting schedule, and storage practices, and spice manufacturers are using advanced processing technology to better preserve the freshness and potency of spices. These changes have helped reduce waste and improve efficiency in food production. 

In related news, Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technology also shows promise in protecting the safety and quality of spices through its ability to detect spice adulteration. 

When it comes to the evolution of AI and technology in the food industry, experts continue to emphasize the need for thoughtful collaboration between technologists, culinary professionals, and policymakers to ensure accurate, ethical, and equitable growth and development.


Spices Elevate Pant-Based Alternatives

The demand for meat alternatives is growing, and flavors often incorporate a mixture of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices to recreate the taste and texture of meat alternatives. With the help of thoughtfully blended seasonings, meat alternatives are becoming increasingly more difficult to distinguish from real meat. With advancements in flavor technology, plant based alternatives are appealing to both vegetarians and meat eaters alike. 

Some of the interest in plant-based alternatives comes from the latest research around the health benefits of plant based diets, increased environmental consciousness, and growing interest in diverse, global cuisine. 

AI is also helping to create spice blends and flavors that mimic meat, with brands like Fermenich boasting an AI developed flavor that is described as “a delicious lightly grilled beef taste” for use in plant-based alternatives. 

As popularity for meat-alternatives grows, so does the standard for flavor and texture, especially among foods that are formulated to mimic meat. A challenge facing food manufacturers is to create flavors that are made from natural sources and appeal to a wide demographic, all while being environmentally friendly. 

To learn more about the plant-based trend, read: Meat Alternatives and the Spices That Flavor Them



Consumer habits are changing, and each of these trends offers a unique opportunity for food manufacturers to embrace change and see the potential for growth. 

To recap, experts agree that there is an increased demand for familiar foods made new with exotic flavors from around the world. Furthermore, consumers want to enjoy foods that are environmentally friendly and health conscious, without sacrificing flavor. This trend in modern cuisine aligns with a broader shift toward plant-based alternatives, which will aim to minimize environmental impact while maximizing flavor. We expect technology to play a crucial role in spice innovation by continuing to drive convenience, streamline agricultural practices, and push the boundaries of flavor to meet the dynamic needs of the market. 

In your opinion, what is the biggest factor shaping the spice industry today? 

We are always learning and evolving, so we encourage you to share your insights and data and continue to do your own research. Remember, we are here to help! Ask our expert sales team for assistance if you have any questions.