Can Steam Infusion help combat the rising costs of spices?
According to The Grocer, the cost of spices is surging in 2019 due to a number of global weather issues. Cardamom has seen a 30% spike in prices, reaching an eight-year high, to vanilla experiencing a 250% market price increase compared to 2016, it’s clear that if you use these ingredients in your products, you could be experiencing a bit of a hit to your bottom line.
Spices reign supreme
As we covered in our post about ready meals, today’s consumers are seeking out authentic flavours and will accept nothing but the very best quality and tastes. This means additional pressure on food manufacturers to add more of these costly spices to achieve the right flavour profile to tempt shoppers and win them over at home. In addition, influences from all around the world are leading to more diverse cuisines that often require more, or different, spices than the traditional UK favourites of Italian or Indian meals have done in the past. As Mexican and Middle Eastern flavours grow in popularity, you may be looking to add new recipes to your portfolio but are concerned about the costs of these ingredients.
In addition, as the plant-based trend grows, manufacturers are seeking out new and diverse ways to tempt consumers to purchase products and help them forget about the lack of meat or dairy ingredients. Spices can be a great way to differentiate a product, but it comes at a cost.
Top notes, top flavours
There is a solution. Thanks to the fast cooking capabilities of Steam Infusion, the technology can act more like a wok in a traditional kitchen to capture the entirety of the flavours of any spices in your recipe, even the volatile top-notes, which are usually lost during the frying stage. Recipes are also easier to scale up as Steam Infusion offers a more home-style cook, which often achieves a more desirable product to attract consumers.
In one example, using the University of Lincoln’s GCMS (Gas Chromatography-Gas Spectrometry) testing, we were able to identify a difference in the flavour profile of a curry sauce that had been cooked with Steam Infusion. We had heightened the flavours and spices and therefore had to reduce some quantities by over a half to get the same flavour profiles as a jacketed vessel sauce. This means up to half the cost to achieve the same flavour profile as before so your customers won’t notice the difference, but your finance team will!
If you’re interested in finding out if Steam Infusion could reduce spice quantities in your products, our development chef will run trials with your recipes and work with you to get any reformulations right. Our test centre, based at the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) in the UK, is fully equipped to give you real-life results.
Chris Brooks, Development Chef, adds, “Working with food manufacturers, we can achieve restaurant quality products in full-scale production facilities with Steam Infusion. Just by tweaking recipes to adapt to the operating parameters of the technology, we can get you cooking like the best, all the while ensuring that your production is as efficient as possible.”