Special Feature: Year In Review

Year In Review: Herbs & Spices

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December 31, 2020
by Shastri Mahadeo
2 Minutes

The following insights are powered by Nielsen in partnership with Unioncrate, an artificial intelligence demand planning platform that combines consumer behavior and historical shipment data to predict sales and inventory with up to 91.6% SKU-level accuracy.


Welcome to Day 31 of Unioncrate’s Year In Review, looking at the Herbs and Spices category, which grew 32.6%.

Herbs & Spices

  • After a couple months in lockdown, consumers were ready to branch out and try new flavors in their home cooking. The herbs and spices category peaked in the 4-week period ended 5/16 at an increase of 83.4%.
  • Among the top subcategories was crushed paprika, which grew 102.3% in the 40-week period since March.
  • While many spices saw an uptick in sales this year, ground red pepper was not a favorite for shoppers: sales fell 54.8% during the pandemic.

The Best Flavors of 2020

  • Israel-based company Salt of the Earth developed an umami powder that acts as a salt replacement for snack foods, minimizing any ill-effects that could come from going through a bag of chips each day.
  • Scientists in Denmark developed a method to identify fake black pepper and vanilla, two ingredients that are prone to fraud because of their easy-to-imitate compositions and high market value.
  • Spiceology raised a $4.7 million Series A, which will be used to help automate its operations and expand its sales efforts.
  • In one of the largest transactions in the spice category, McCormick purchased famed hot sauce brand Cholula for $800 million, extending the company’s presence in the hot sauce category as consumer demand grows.

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