Sauces, Dressings, Marinades Add Interest and Depth to Product Lines

Some like it mouth-scorching hot, others are more into an enhanced robust spice profile with less heat. Still others fall somewhere in the middle. When it comes to creating bold, adventurous flavors for consumers, there’s no one path to success — and that’s why the peppers used for sauces, dressings and marinades can do so much to elevate a product’s appeal.

Having access to a wide variety of peppers, as well as the ability to tell their origin stories, will help manufacturers stand out in flavor and consumer interest. Consumers today want to know where their food came from, as well as the stories behind the dishes they’re considering. That’s why peppers from around the world are having their moment, as discussed in a recent Food Business News article. Simply put, peppers are hot right now!

Unique, offbeat and fun — a winning combination

“The biggest trend we’ve seen are flavors inspired by regional cuisines that home in on a specific area and the origin story of that dish or sauce,” said Erika James, senior applications technologist at Sensient Flavors & Extracts. “Peri peri from East Africa and harissa from Tunisia are two great examples of that. Underappreciated cuisines — previously overshadowed by other countries in the same region — are getting their chance to shine. Multiple Filipino condiments are gaining traction … including banana ketchup. Consumers are looking for bold flavors. Spicy is popular, but the character of the peppers used and the accompanying spices have to shine through. Harissa needs caraway and coriander, and peri peri needs lemon notes.”

Peppers also offer a huge variety, added Holly Adrian, senior marketing manager at Sensient Natural Ingredients.

“While jalapeño peppers are a time-honored ingredient in Mexican cuisine, this forward-friendly chili, with its bright, vegetal, slightly acidic notes and back-end heat, is showing up in myriad favorites such as creamy artichoke dips and hummus, mango and peach salsas and tangy vinaigrettes and ranch dressings,” Adrian said. “Ancho and guajillo, considered two parts of the ‘holy trinity’ of chilies, are

growing in popularity beyond the traditional mole sauces. Consumers are seeking out real, authentic ingredients in sauces, rubs and marinades to bring global cuisine to their home cooking.”

To that list she added the emerging Peruvian varietals, aji amarillo and aji panca, considered by some chefs as “the DNA of Peruvian cuisine.” Both are gaining menu mentions outside of Peruvian fare due to their unique flavor notes and versatility across all categories, from protein marinades to piquant dressings and even sweet and creamy sauces.

“Each varietal has its own unique characteristics,” Adrian explained. “Emerging varietal aji amarillo has a yellow-umber hue and a subtle raisin-like tartness with hints of passionfruit and mango. Aji panca has a deep reddish-brown color and an earthy, berry-like fruitiness. Its complexity includes subtle smoky aromatics and a lingering, medium heat.”

Lose sugar, sodium and gain market share

Need an even better reason for using a global palette of peppers? They offer a reduced presence of sugar and sodium — two consumer “no-no’s” that can cause rejection in the grocery aisle.

“Sweetness enhancers are a great way to reduce sugar in condiments such as vinaigrettes and BBQ sauces,” James said. “We like to pair them with a good masking technology to counteract any modifications made to formulas to keep them shelf stable.

“We’ve had success in reducing added sugar by 50% in certain formulas with our sweetness modifying and masking technologies,” she continued, “and there are newer generations of sodium-enhancing technologies out there now. We no longer have to rely on [potassium chloride], which can bring metallic off-notes. We have technologies that have been proven to enhance flavor even more successfully than salt itself. These tend to be most successful in the 25%-40% range.”

Let’s be taste buds! Learn more about Sensient’s full line of pepper products by contacting Sensient Flavors & Extracts for more information today!