TREND WATCH: Turmeric

December 4, 2017, 8:00 am
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The Indian spice that leaves annoying yellow stains on worktops is having a golden moment, says Sally-Jayne Wright. Never mind curry, it’s in cookies, coffees and cocktails.

APART FROM MAKING TOFU LOOK LIKE SCRAMBLED EGGS ON INSTAGRAM, WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT TURMERIC?

It’s a super-ingredient which Asian families have been using for thousands of years as a home remedy. The active ingredient is curcumin – more effective if you consume it with piperine (found in black pepper) and fat. Turmeric appears to have powerful antioxidant and antibacterial properties; it may reduce inflammation and improve the immune, digestive and memory functions.

WHY IS IT SUDDENLY SO POPULAR?

In the West, turmeric has been gathering fans steadily over the last 10 years; as more and more studies were published in support of its many benefits, it took off. Trend Watch reported in September that millennials like food and drink products which solve a problem. So they’re going to love the latest form of cold and flu prevention – a nonalcoholic turmeric spritz cocktail at The Book Club, a hip bar in London’s Shoreditch.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT STARBUCKS IS DOING TURMERIC LATTES?

That’s right, and Lakeland is selling instant turmeric latte mix (Lucy Bee, £4,99 for 125g). Taka is another instant turmeric drinks brand. Recipes for golden milk are all over the internet; for the uninitiated, this is a hot drink made of turmeric powder, cinnamon, black pepper, coconut oil and dairy or nut milk.

Turmeric may even give you a gentle energy boost. James White Golden turmeric zinger shots contain apple, lemon and turmeric juices as well as chilli flavouring and black pepper extract, 70ml for £1.45. Spokesman Andy Dicken said: “Many drink it chilled in the mornings as a coffee alternative or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.” Trend Watch enjoyed it as an aftermeal palate cleanser.

Tea drinkers looking for a more soothing experience can sip Gareth Gates’ Cuppanut Coconut, Ginger & Turmeric infusion with one of Rude Health’s Ginger & Turmeric Oaties.

WHERE IS THE TREND AT ITS BEST?

At September’s lunch! food-to-go show, we sampled Manoucher’s delicious, bright yellow, turmeric bread seasoned with cumin (distributor: DJM Food Solutions); it made us wonder why this spice isn’t used more in flatbreads and pittas. The Somerset company, JEAM, also uses turmeric in an award-winning, organic Turmeric and reishi mushroom bread mix. Another product we liked is Hibiscus Lily Lemon and ginger with turmeric marmalade. The turmeric is there but it’s subtle and leaves a warming back-note in the mouth. Former TV cookery show presenter, Kanwal Pattar, who makes it, grew up in the Punjab. She said: “I was inspired by a hot lemon, ginger and turmeric drink I made when recovering from a cold. It seemed to be the perfect flavour combination for a marmalade.” The Great Taste and Marmalade Awards judges agreed.

IS TURMERIC GOOD FOR SALES?

Absolutely. You can stock innovative and award-winning products such as Butter Nut’s Cashew, Maple & Turmeric Butter, ChicP’s perfectly-balanced Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric Hummus or Miss Daisy’s Mummy’s Carrot-top Chutney. The latter is flavoured with nigella seeds, star anise and turmeric, and scooped three stars in the Welsh Great Taste Awards 2017.

Make sure your latte mix and turmeric powder is super-fresh with a good percentage of curcumin, as that’s what health-conscious customers will be looking for.

WILL THIS TREND LAST?

The vogue for adding super ingredients to food and drink shows no signs of abating and the science looks very promising, so yes. To tackle those yellow stains, we recommend bicarb and lemon juice or vinegar. Act fast.

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