February 06th 2019


The value of turmeric imported to Canada more than doubled from 2012 to 2017. If you follow the trends, this won’t surprise you. International flavours and functional ingredients are big business and turmeric ticks both boxes.

Made from the dried root of Curcuma longa, it clearly didn’t take long for people to realize the turmeric leaves stains if you aren’t careful with it. In fact, the use of turmeric for intentionally colouring fabric (and food) in India, one of its places of origin, dates back to around 600 B.C.

Marco… Polo...

Way back in 1280, the famous explorer mentioned turmeric in notes of his travels through China, writing, "There is also a vegetable that has all the properties of true saffron, as well as the smell and the colour, and yet it is not really saffron." Turmeric became known as "Indian saffron" in Medieval Europe, offering a more affordable alternative to what is still one of the world’s most expensive spices.

Flavour Runs in the Family

Not only is it related to ginger, another strongly flavoured root, but it’s also reasonable similar in size. Turmeric has an alluring aroma that’s earthy and musky, with a slightly bitter taste. If you had to describe the flavour profile, you’d probably say it was like a blend of ginger and pepper. Sounds perfect for our spiced-crazed Canadian consumers!

North African cuisine, which is trending heavily in Canada, pops with flavour due in part to liberal use of turmeric. In fact, you really can’t have a Morrocan 7-Spice blend without it. It also adds warmth and colour to curries, jerk, and other dishes from India and Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

We’re also increasingly seeing turmeric appearing in health-forward products. Once again, modern sensibilities are finally catching on to what the ancients fully understood; turmeric has been part of traditional healing practices for thousands of years. Don’t be afraid to spice up your smoothie with a little turmeric!

Want to learn how McCormick can make turmeric work in your product application? Contact us today and you’re golden.