A medley of spices

Spice blends allow consumers to experience global flavors in a more familiar format, Mintel said. These blends may emerge from a variety of cuisines, including African, Middle Eastern, and Asian.

“Spice blends create an easy way for operators to introduce diners to new international cuisines in an approachable way, while letting chefs experiment with personalizing classic blends to reflect their vision and interpretation,” Mintel said. “While the components that make up each blend can differ, what remains constant is the sheer versatility of each spice blend with various foods.”

Berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend, combines spices such as ginger, basil, chili peppers and garlic. While traditionally used to season various ingredients in stews, such as beef, chicken, lentils and eggplant, berbere may be used in a range of applications. Cicchetti, a Mediterranean restaurant in Seattle, serves berbere fried chicken wings with turmeric aioli.

Ras el hanout, a spice mix from North Africa, typically includes spices such as cardamom, cumin and ginger. It appears on the menu at The Painted Lady in Newberg, Oregon, in the restaurant’s slow-roasted salmon. The blend has potential for growth, Mintel said, as 32 percent of consumers are interested in seeing more African seasonings in foods.

Togarashi is a common Japanese spice blend that is often included in soups and proteins. The ingredient has grown 9 percent on menus from 2015-2017, Mintel said.

“Spice blends in particular are an area of opportunity for brands as they can take some of the guesswork out of cooking,” said Caleb Bryant, senior food service analyst for Mintel.