One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 will undoubtedly be that, for the first time in a decade, food purchases for at-home consumption in the United States will have outpaced those of food consumed outside the home.
Sales of pantry staples have felt the full effects of this shift, with huge increases in year-over-year category growth of items including rice, beans, pasta, flour and other go-to ingredients for home cooks. Another top-growth category of 2020 was shelf-stable seasonings, which had an average growth rate of 37.1% between January and October 2020, according to SPINS.
In the natural channel many retailers are still finding it a challenge to keep these products on shelves. In late fall of 2020, Dean Nelson, the owner of four Dean’s Natural Food Market stores in New Jersey, talked to New Hope Network about ongoing challenges to stock spices leading to expanding from, “maybe two primary spice vendors to six, just to keep the shelves full.”
Natural and organics
Some stocking challenges for spices in natural grocery stores might derive from the fact that certified organic spices only account for a very small portion (1-2%) of the global supply. This share is increasing, driven by increasing demand for these products led in particular by North American consumers. According to a December 2020 report by Market Research Future, the organic spice market is predicted to reach $520 million by 2024 with a CAGR of 6.4% from 2019-2024.
In addition to organic spices, natural channel retailers can appeal to consumers on the hunt for better seasonings by diversifying their selection and seeking products with clean ingredient lists, careful sourcing methods and artisanal production practices—as well as by diverse-owned and mission-based brands.
Whether basic seasonings such as salt and pepper, classic herbs including basil, oregano and thyme, or more globally inspired flavorings and spice blends, consumers are looking to their spice racks to take the bland out of daily meal prep and add a little spice to their lives.
The products featured in this gallery represent a range of seasoning brands and attributes: Women- and BIPOC-owned companies, established brands and up-and-comers, classic formats and at least one novel approach, flavor profiles from near and far, and of course a couple of certified organic spices too.