cinnamon sticks

Cardamom and Cinnamon Still Strong This Season

With autumn here, the food and beverage industry is launching its seasonal offerings—including products flavored with warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom. Check out all the ways cinnamon and cardamom are being used and how their associations with international cuisines are keeping consumer interest strong.

Cinnamon and Cardamom Right on Trend

Cinnamon

The taste of cinnamon is a perennial favorite in the U.S., where it’s featured in sweet baked goods like apple pie and cinnamon rolls, as well as in breakfast items like oatmeal and granola. 
In addition to indulgent snacks, cinnamon is popping up in some surprisingly good-for-you places too. Consumers may now find cinnamon-infused functional waters, functional teas, nutrition bars, and supplements. To deliver on consumer expectations, it’s important that these products have the characterizing taste profile of cinnamon, whether through the spice itself or from added flavor.

Cardamom

The taste of cardamom may be less familiar to Americans than the taste of cinnamon. However, ongoing interest in international cuisines has made many consumers familiar with the unique fragrance and flavor of cardamom through masala chai, as well as savory Indian dishes like curry and biryani. Cardamom is also popular in Middle Eastern and Scandinavian cuisines.

spices

A Fascinating History

Both cinnamon and cardamom have rich histories that date back to ancient times. As early as 2000 BC, cinnamon was one of the spices used in ancient Egypt during the embalming process. Further, even the Old Testament mentions cinnamon as an ingredient used to make anointing oil. Later on, history records that people began to use cinnamon as a preservative for meat.

Cardamom is considered to be one of the world's oldest spices. Like cinnamon, it was also used by the Egyptians in the embalming process, for medicinal purposes, and even as a breath freshener. Vikings discovered many uses for the versatile spice and took it back to their homeland. Greeks and Romans often used the spice for perfumes and personal fragrances. 

These versatile and highly prized spices were traded along ancient spice routes several thousand years ago. Ceylon cinnamon (“true cinnamon”) and cardamom, both native to the Indian subcontinent, first reached the Western world during the time of the ancient Greeks.

Merchants made up fantastic tales about the origins of their spices to protect their business and keep prices high. Efforts to control spice trade routes, along with explorations in search of alternative routes, can be traced from antiquity to the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance and shaped much of human history.

How Cinnamon and Cardamom Are Used Today

Cinnamon

The most popular use of cinnamon is in sweet treats, particularly baked goods such as pies, tarts, breads, and cookies. Cinnamon pairs well with apple, pumpkin, and raisins and can be combined with other warm spices like cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. 

Dishes and packaged goods using cinnamon include:

  • Cinnamon buns and rolls, cinnamon raisin bread, and snickerdoodles
  • Breakfast cereals, oatmeal, granola, and granola bars
  • French toast and pancakes
  • Rice pudding and horchata
  • Apple pie, apple cider, and baked apples
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Coffee lattes and chai
rolls

Cardamom

While cardamom is associated with a variety of traditional Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian foods and beverages, it can also be used wherever cinnamon is used for an unexpected twist. In the U.S., cardamom is most likely to be found in chai, cookies, ice cream, and cream liqueurs. Cardamom works well in both sweet and savory dishes. 

Dishes and packaged goods that feature cardamom include:

  • Chai, coffee, and liqueurs
  • Curries, pilafs, and biryani
  • Halva and baklava
  • Cookies, cakes, and sweet buns
  • Rice pudding, custards, lassi, and ice cream
  • Rubs and marinades

Collaborate for Winning Flavors

Autumn puts a spotlight on flavors like cinnamon and cardamom, but these beloved favorites are here to stay year-round. The potential for expanding cinnamon and cardamom into more U.S. products is creating opportunities for growth.

Whether you're looking for cinnamon or cardamom flavors, flavor masking solutions, or custom flavors for your food and beverage products, Glanbia Nutritionals has the expertise you need. Collaborate with us to create delicious products that will win over your customers this season—and all year long!

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