July 27th 2018
Approximately 9% of the Canadian population identifies as Vegan, Vegetarian, or Pescatarian (no meat consumption, but will eat fish), and increasing numbers of people are looking to trim their meat consumption. This seems like as good a time as any to talk about salads!
Eating leaves is nothing new; humans have been doing it since the dawn of time. Making those leaves taste good, however, came along later. Let’s take a look at the history of salad dressings, and what the future of eating your greens might taste like.
It’s said that the ancient Greeks and Romans were using oil and vinegar to add flavour to their leafy greens about 2000 years ago. It’s possible the practice is even older, however. Coating the leaves in sauce makes them not only tastier, but also easier to swallow. Actually, the name “salad” comes from the Latin Herba salata, which means “salted herb”, salt having been, and remaining, a common ingredient in dressings.
Two millennia later, salad dressings are still going strong around the world, including here at home. The salad dressing market in Canada is valued at nearly $370 million.
What’s in a dressing?
Typical North America salad dressings tend to follow one of two basic formulae:
Vinaigrettes made with an emulsion of vinegar and oil, flavoured with herbs, spices, and possibly fruit.
Cream dressings made with a mayonnaise, yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream base, plus seasonings for flavour.
Adding trendy flavours like turmeric, or Scotch bonnet peppers to the staples could invigorate sales among “slightly” adventurous consumers. Imagine refreshing a cool and creamy Caesar dressing with jalapeño lime for a lively burst of flavour!
An exciting new category of dressing we’re seeing more of begins with a chickpea base. (White beans and edamame also work.) Blending the chickpeas with vegetables, spices and herbs until they’re smooth and creamy makes for a delicious, plant-based dressing without any oil or dairy. Just goes to show there’s always a new direction you can take with food!
Global flavours for your greens
If you look beyond the horizons you’ll discover a world of possibilities - and we don’t just mean bottles of Italian, Greek, Russian, and French dressing! Creating an authentic international flavour profile in a salad dressing is a simple, approachable way to introduce Canadian consumers to exotic tastes.
Have you been for sushi or to a Japanese izakaya? Then you might have tried the popular Japanese-style vinaigrette. It’s based on a blend of soy sauce, mirin (rice wine), oil, and rice vinegar. From there it might be flavoured with ingredients as diverse as wasabi, yuzu, or ginger.
For an authentic (and on trend) taste of Southeast Asia you can’t beat the spicy yet citrusy taste of sambal for a new twist on a sweet chili vinaigrette. Drizzle some on a cool veggie salad for a sweet-tangy-heat sensation that’s sure to be a flavour revelation!
No matter the flavour experience you want to deliver to the consumer, you can trust McCormick to help you craft it to perfection. And turn the competition “green” with envy!