Topline Trends Tuesdays: Pre-measured ingredients for busy and occasional cooks


Don’t ask me why it’s taken me over a year of blogging to get the clever idea that I should formally highlight a food trend once a week in my blog. It’s not like I’m known for being a food trend expert or anything…duh! So, without further ado, welcome to the first Topline Trends Tuesday post!

Well I remember the days when I was a poor but keen culinary student, standing horror-struck in front of a grocery display of spices wanting to buy all the ingredients I didn’t have or had never tried but unable to afford the full jars on display. Likewise, when I meet readers or do cooking classes, people often comment that they just don’t want to invest in all the spices, herbs and specialty ingredients that I, as a food writer eager for variety, throw into my recipes.

Several companies have picked up on these needs and launched products that are perfect for occasional cooks who don’t want a lifetime supply of saffron and for adventurous cooks who want to experiment with new flavours but not have to buy large quantities of ingredients they may only use infrequently.

Gourmet Garden Flavour Packs: This fresh herb and spice paste company makes it easy to dabble in Italian, Thai or Mexican cooking with these small format trios that keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Meanwhile, in the dry goods aisle, Smart Spice and Tsp Spices both sell organic spices in pre-measured 1 tsp (5 mL) sachets so that you don’t even need a measuring spoon to use them.

For more info about food trends, sign up for my quarterly Topline Trends Newsletter. (FYI: the Winter 2009 Topline Trends will be online later this week)


10 Responses to Topline Trends Tuesdays: Pre-measured ingredients for busy and occasional cooks

  1. Sheryl says:

    I’ve also seen two different companies selling an assortment of Indian spices pre-measured to complete a certain dish. One was local (sadly I can’t remember the name – saw them at the One of a Kind show a year or so back) and the other is called Indian Flavour from the UK.

    For both companies the packages include all the spices needed to make, for instance, chicken tikka masala, or butter chicken.

    I’d love to see a Mexican one for mole Poblano with all 20 spices and chilis. 🙂

  2. Rosa says:

    That’s a great idea! I love to have many ingredients on stock, so it would not really be for me unless I can’t afford to buy the full jar…



  3. danamccauley says:

    Sheryl, I’d buy that mole, too! If you remember the name of the local spice company, pop back and let us know. I’d love to support them.

    I know the young ladies at Gourmantra do something similar with their kits.

  4. Elra says:

    I think it’s really good idea for those with limited time to spend in the kitchen. What I find though, you normally pay more then what you get to buy in bulk.

  5. I like the idea for sampling, but don’t think I need my spices premeasured. That sounds wasteful.

    I agree, the 20-spice mole mix sounds like a wonderful idea. But on the whole, I like my cupboards full of spices so I can mix and match to my taste. While I’m not part of the target audience, I can see this being popular.

  6. Cheryl says:

    I like seeing the True Cinnamon in your photo. I just bought some Ceylon cinnamon (aka “true cinnamon”) yesterday and I’m really enjoying it.

    It continues to amaze me how pricey spices are, so I think selling them in smaller sampler packs is a good idea not just for those who want to dabble, but for those who end up using a teaspoon and then throwing the jar away 4 years later when they realize they haven’t used their $9 garam masala since 2005.

  7. Diva says:

    Not a bad idea on the whole, and if it gets more people cooking/experimenting in the kitchen – I’m all for it. And, as Cheryl said, it would work well for those who would not use an entire jar of something before it goes bad. Probably not something I would buy myself … my spice collection is embarrassingly large! I wonder if its really cost effective though – or are they charging a premium for the pre-packaging??

  8. danamccauley says:

    FOr heavy spice users I doubt it’s cost effective but for people who use their spices so sporadically that they worry about freshness, I think these little sachets are a great solution. And, for someone who bakes a cake once a year, likely buying a box of mixed pouches is much cheaper than buying a full sized jar of spices or a whole jar of hot pepper paste.

    Thanks for all your good comments today peeps!

  9. Kevin says:

    It would be nice to be able to try something and not have a full jar of it sitting on your shelf forever. Though it would certainly be cheaper to buy the larger sizes of the ones tha tyou know that you use a lot of.

  10. Kristen says:

    Well isn’t that a smart idea? Very cool – thanks for turning us on to this!

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