Food Frenzy: 13 Edible Souvenirs About to Get More Expensive
Food Frenzy: 13 Edible Souvenirs About to Get More Expensive - Spice Up Your Life - Common spices projected to spike
Adding flavor to food often starts with a dash of this or a pinch of that, but several common spices are projected to spike in price soon. For the home cook or professional chef, this could make creating those complex flavors we love a pricier proposition.
Spices like black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg are seeing increased demand at a time when supply is threatened by poor weather conditions in producing countries. Take black pepper, for example - a staple in kitchens around the world used in everything from soups to salads. Most black pepper comes from India, which has seen an erratic monsoon season wreak havoc on crops. This tight supply has caused the price per pound to double in the last year.
While many view spices as a minimal cost ingredient, small amounts can add up fast for restaurants. David Kamen, head chef at Before Noon Café in Chicago, has already seen his monthly spice costs rise 25% and had to make adjustments. “We’ve had to substitute some more expensive spices like saffron with cheaper alternatives like turmeric in a few dishes,” Kamen said. “It changes the flavor profile some but we try to make it work.”
Home cooks are also feeling the pinch. Anne Carter, a mother of two in Dallas, has had to get more creative with spices to keep costs down. “I’m doing more herb infused olive oils and things like that to add flavor without just dumping in expensive spices anymore,” Carter said. “My family hasn’t noticed a huge difference, so I’ll probably keep doing these kinds of techniques.”
While the spice price hikes are being driven by temporary weather factors, some experts think the new normal will see spices as a pricier ingredient long-term. Dr. Kara Springer, economist and author of “The Cost of Flavor: Tracking Food Commodity Prices,” believes climate change will continue to make spice crops more susceptible. “Extreme weather is unfortunately becoming more common in places like India, Vietnam, and Indonesia that produce some of our most used spices,” Dr. Springer said. “I don’t see an end to the volatility in this market.”