The influence of authentic cuisines is hitting the supermarket shelves in the shape of seasonings.
This week, Colman’s released what it describes as four new meal makers from around the world, which the company claims will be the first in the category that are reduced in salt, contain no added sugar and are gluten-free.
And just last month, Schwartz launched a six-strong range of seasonings inspired by street food.
These SKUs come as the category is brought into sharper focus. New company Rooted Spices sells single-origin spices, for example, with an emphasis on providence and unique blends.
So what’s behind this seasoning switch-up?
Colman’s seasoning blends aim to initiate a step-change in perception of the category by dialling up the range’s more natural credentials, according to the company.
The range includes Smoky Mexican Tacos, Blazin' Chilli Con Carne, Kickin' Jamaican Jerk and Herby Spaghetti Bolognese, which will retail for £1.19 per pack in major retailers.
The growing consumer movement towards more natural food products means the range has been specifically designed to target those looking to cook healthier evening meals, but with the convenience of a packet recipe mix, the company said. The range also taps into the trend for specialist diets, as more shoppers look for gluten-free products.
Andre Burger, vice president of foods, at Unilever UK, said the plan is to introduce the range to a whole new consumer base.
“Shoppers are increasingly looking for products that fit into a more natural and healthier lifestyle, and at the same time, we’re seeing a rise in the number of consumers that are seeking out gluten-free, reduced salt and reduced sugar products,” he said
“To reflect the natural credentials of the range, the packaging has been designed using a ‘brown paper bag’ look and feel, with a window at the front ensuring the blend of herbs and spices are clearly visible. This natural look and feel is designed to appeal to a new and younger audience who are looking for modern meal solutions in an easy-to-use format.”
Colman’s has also introduced a smaller pack size to appeal to one- and two-person households, which the company said are spending the most in the category.
Targeting the younger crowd
But Colman’s isn’t the only player to shake up its seasoning. Schwartz is drawing on Mexican and Jamaican influences for its new range as well.
Its street-food-inspired seasonings are aimed at younger shoppers and include single-use packets of Korean BBQ, a Middle Eastern blend called baharat, Caribbean jerk, chimichurri, Sriracha and Mexican, which will retail for 99p.
The goal is to tap into the rise in popularity of street food markets, where consumers enjoy on-the-go, versatile and authentic world flavours, said the company. Schwartz said it had identified the leading-edge flavours consumers want to try, and these new tastes hit the mark when it comes to contemporary street food recipes.
The new seasonings line-up will also be backed by a campaign to help reinvigorate the herbs and spices category, including a series showcasing six young Londoners who can’t cook but are determined to try.
“Our audience is looking for more adventurous and varied flavours when it comes to eating out and now we’re offering them the perfect way to recreate some of their favourite dishes at home,” said Nic Yates, UK head of marketing at Schwartz owner McCormick & Co.
The range has been carefully curated to provide quick, easy and tasty options to spice up daily meals, he added.
So is Sparkie inspired by the seasonings?
This is the natural filtering down of the trend for authentic novel cuisines. With the way the current trends for convenience are going, I expected to see more meal-kit-type products by now too, but maybe these will come afterwards.
Basic spice mixes and pastes provide consumers with a way of trying these trendy cuisines without much risk to the producers due to them being ambient-stable for very long periods of time.