Food Preparation

Global Condiments

January 11, 2017   /
Author: 
Elaine M. Hinzey, RD, LDN

Global condiments are skyrocketing in terms of sales and popularity. In fact, the retail condiment market was valued at $18.6 billion in the United States (US) in 2012 and is estimated to reach $22 billion by 2017 according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). In fact, 62% of people surveyed have said that they would be willing to pay more for authentic flavors and ingredients at ethnic restaurants. Reasons that have been named for the increase in popularity of condiments include:

  • Millennials’ interest in high quality “craft,” “small batch,” and “handmade” food products.
  • The increasing awareness of buying local; this provides producers of condiments with a wider range of selling opportunities, including farmer’s markets.
  • The movement away from the artificial colors, artificial flavors, and preservatives long-used by mainstream condiment manufacturers. 
  • The rising awareness of the health and financial benefits realized by preparing more meals at home.
  • In 2014, the Food Marketing Institute identified “discovery” as a new desire of consumers, referring to the eagerness to experiment with unique flavors and stories.
  • The rising popularity of ethnic food. 

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Gochujang: This Korean paste is made from a mixture of chiles, glutinous rice, and soybeans which are left to ferment in the sun. It is used in a variety of dishes including soups, stews, marinades, and sauces. 

Green chutney: This is an Indian relish made with cilantro, mint, chilies, spices, and lemon juice. Sometimes onion, yogurt, coconut, pomegranate seeds, tomato, white radish, or peanuts are added. It enlivens French fries, salad dressings, vegetables, sandwiches, and burgers. Green chutney is traditionally used in onion pakoras, samosa, aloo tikki, paneer tikka, and tandoori. 

Harissa: This is a widely used and very popular condiment across North Africa and in the Middle East. It comes in many varieties, which usually contain hot peppers, garlic, olive oil, coriander, cumin, mint, and caraway. Sometimes tomatoes and rose petals are included. Soups, stews, meat, fish, dips, and pizza are all good vehicles for harissa’s smoky flavor. 

Hoisin sauce: Kind of similar to a sweet BBQ sauce, this sauce is made from sweet potato (sometimes another starch is used instead), soybean paste, vinegar, garlic, and red chili pepper. It is most often used in Chinese dishes and also makes a unique glaze for meat or poultry. 

Kewpie mayonnaise: A Japanese condiment that is yellower and thicker than American mayonnaise, this spread can be used in the same recipes. Be advised that Kewpie mayonnaise contains monosodium glutamate (MSG). 

Kimchi: This is a strongly flavored and odorous dish made of fermented cabbage, daikon, scallions, garlic, red pepper powder (gochugaru) and ginger that goes well with fried rice, dumplings, or summer rolls. Some people include sugar or carrots in their kimchi recipe. Kimchi usually contains seafood, but vegetarians can substitute kelp powder. Kimchi can be eaten alone, mixed with rice or noodles, or added to soups, pizza, or burgers.