Herbs Flavorings

Herbs and Flavorings Make All the Difference

Consumers are creatures of habit that tend to have somewhat predictable tastes and preferences, yet they’re also always searching for the next new great thing. Food manufacturers know this and are therefore constantly developing new recipes and products that they predict will delight their customers. Rather than constantly reinventing the wheel, though, food producers often rely on tweaking formulations and ingredients to make a new product or an updated version of an older product. One of the ways to update or improve a recipe, of course, is to introduce different herbs and flavorings.

How Herbs and Other Flavorings Can Improve a Product

Our bodies technically don’t need appealing flavors in order to get the energy we need from the food we eat, but life would clearly be much more boring if everything was bland. There are many components of food that can make it more enjoyable to eat, including flavor, texture, and visual presentation. One of the most important factors, though, is the selection of ingredients like high quality herbs, spices, and other flavorings that can improve a product in a number of ways:

  • Enhance taste: Herbs and other flavoring agents can add unique and distinct flavors to food, making a product more interesting and appealing to the palate. Herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley, for instance, can be used to impart vibrancy and freshness while spices like paprika and turmeric can add warmth and depth. Moreover, different combinations of herbs can create altogether different flavor profiles.
  • Enhance smell: A significant part of what we taste is actually rooted in smell, so herbs can also enhance the experience of eating a food by improving its aroma. Some herbs are known for being particularly fragrant or aromatic because of the oils found in the plant. Examples include rosemary, basil, and thyme.
  • Provide balance: Sometimes a recipe has the right components to be a great product but the ingredients are imbalanced. The addition of the right flavoring agents can improve the balance of the parts of taste like acidity, sweetness, bitterness, or umami. For instance, the addition of a citrus fruit like lemon can improve the overall flavor profile of a food that would otherwise be too rich.
  • Promote variety: There are some familiar food products the majority of customers would never want to change, but there are many cases when the desire for new tastes and textures prompts a change. Herbs and flavoring agents can update or upgrade a product in a way that makes it more exciting and better received. Different herbs can be used to complement specific ingredients and cuisines, providing endless possibilities for creating unique and memorable products.
  • Boost nutritional value: Individuals and families across the country are much more health-conscious these days, and that means a demand for more products that are aimed at improving health. Many herbs contain a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that boost the nutritional value of the product at the same time as enhancing the flavor. An herb like parsley, for example, brings a peppery, earthy flavor while also being a course of vitamin C. Herbs are also a good addition to a product that won’t add significant extra calories.1
  • Reduce the need for salt: Salt is a crucial part of introducing flavor to almost any food product, but it can also become a health problem if one’s diet contains too much. Flavoring agents like herbs can enhance taste without the need for excessive salt, making them healthier without sacrificing taste. This is particularly beneficial for people with heart conditions who need to closely monitor their sodium intake.

Versatile Herbs and Flavoring Agents

Whatever the goal in improving a recipe, herbs are a simple yet effective way to make a better product. Using flavoring agents is as much art as science, and it often requires testing different combinations and quantities to find the right balance. Below are some examples of popular herbs that can greatly enhance a food product:

  • Oregano: Used extensively in Mediterranean cuisine, oregano has a bold taste that can liven up fish, cooked vegetables, salad dressings, and sauces. In fact, because of its strength of flavor, it is primarily used in its dried form rather than fresh.
  • Parsley: With a more mild flavor, parsley is often used to add a hint of freshness to heavy or starchy foods like pasta or stews.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro has an almost citrus quality with a hint of spice that makes it right at home in zesty dishes from Mexico, India, and Southeast Asia. It works especially well in salsa, guacamole, curry, and noodle dishes.
  • Dill: Dill has a grassy and slightly tangy flavor that makes it a great companion to pickled cucumbers, but it also pairs well with fish, potatoes, yogurt, and salads.
  • Basil: Basil is one of the more aromatic herbs, and it can infuse a dish with its mildly sweet and floral aroma. Basil is familiar in Italian cuisine like pasta, pizza, and salads. It has such an appealing flavor, in fact, that a sauce like pesto makes basil the star.
  • Chervil: Chervil is usually described as a cross between parsley and another herb called tarragon. Because it has a mild flavor, it can be used in other delicately flavored dishes so as to not overpower other elements.
  • Onion: Prized for their versatility and ability to enhance flavor, onions are one of the most common ingredients in various cuisines around the world. There are also numerous types of onions, like red, green, and white, that each have different applications.
  • Garlic: Like onions, garlic is a member of the Allium family, and it also has endless applications in many different food products. Its robust flavor adds umami taste to any recipe, but it is also a source of compounds that have important health benefits.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary is a woodier herb with a strong, pine-like flavor that works well on roasted meats, potatoes, bread, and vegetables. Because of its sturdier texture, it can hold up well in high heat and amongst other strong flavors.
  • Fennel seed: Fennel seed is typically described as having a flavor similar to licorice or anise. When processed into a powder, it can provide a major flavor enhancement to salad dressings, soups, pickled vegetables, or even some baked goods.

Silva is Here to Help

Herbs are one of the easiest and healthiest ways to add flavor and nutritional value to a food item. Yet at Silva, we don’t just sell herbs and other flavoring agents; we are also passionate about helping our clients develop new ideas or rethink the classics. Our industry-leading team of professionals is committed to partnering with you to get the ingredients you need to deliver an outstanding final product to your customers. If you’d like to learn more about any of our offerings, please contact us today to speak with a team member.