Almost no dish is complete without any seasonings. Seasonings and spices, which, at first glance, are something insignificant, can not only add piquancy to the dish, but sometimes completely change its original taste. With the right seasonings, the food tastes better. In addition, according to experts, the use of various flavors is soon addictive: without them, ordinary dishes do not seem as tasty as usual.
Flavoring food additives, seasonings and spices are chemicals, individual parts of biological products of plant origin and their mixtures, which are designed to improve the taste and aromatic qualities of various foods and prepared dishes. The functions of flavors and spices are slightly different. Flavoring additives can both contribute to the process of digestion and assimilation of food, and create more opportunities for its long-term storage. Seasonings include various spices, sugar and salt, certain types of flavorings, sauces and ready-to-eat foods (mustard, ketchup, horseradish), oil mixtures (oil with the addition of herbs, mustard, garlic, etc.), as well as chemical substances (for example, monosodium glutamate, citric acid, acetic essence). Consider the range of these products in more detail.
Spices relatively recently (compared with other products) have moved into the category of consumer goods. Seasonings are most in demand. This category includes everything that is added to food to change the taste (for example, ketchup, sauce, vinegar, mayonnaise). Seasonings are divided into food acids (acetic and citric), inorganic and organic sodium salts (sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate), sauces (tomato, fruit, artificial), table mustard (without and with toppings), horseradish (without and with toppings). Thus, seasonings refer to food additives consisting of several components (they are “wet” and “dry”). Unlike seasonings, spices are one-component additives that change the taste, smell, and sometimes the consistency of a dish. These include citric acid, salt, monosodium glutamate, etc. But flavorings that affect only the smell or color of a dish do not belong to the category of spices and stand out in a separate group of flavoring additives, which also include flavor enhancers. Flavors are divided into natural, artificial and synthetic. Natural flavors are obtained by distillation, CO2 extraction or the cryogenic method of aromatic complex of certain spices and seasonings. These flavors are called by the starting material from which they are obtained. Artificial flavors are produced by mixing in predetermined proportions of individual substances isolated from natural raw materials. The resulting artificial flavors are also named for the product, not just the original, but the one they replace. Synthetic flavors are produced by direct synthesis of certain substances from chemical raw materials. Such additives include, for example, vanillin, which replaces natural vanilla and is used in the confectionery industry and in cooking. Spices are herbal supplements that have a spicy taste and aroma. They consist of fresh or dried parts of plants and, unlike seasonings, are not independent dishes. Spices are of local origin (mainly herbs: onions, parsley, dill, basil, etc.), and classic (coriander, bay leaves, black pepper, saffron, cinnamon, etc.).
The so-called “wet” seasonings are produced in factories and fruit canning enterprises of sufficient capacity. In addition, small producers can engage in their production. The consumption of these seasonings is highly dependent on the season. For example, in the pre-holiday season horseradish and mustard are in great demand, and in the hot season, sales of these products are noticeably reduced. For this reason, manufacturing enterprises are trying to maximize their range in order to ensure a stable profit. In the summer, the production of "wet" seasonings is suspended and reoriented to more seasonal products. The market demand for horseradish and mustard falls at least twice at this time, so in the period from April to September it is satisfied at the expense of commodity balances. The most popular wet seasoning product is mustard. Dry mustard powder, sugar, salt, vinegar, water and mustard oil are used for its production. Instead of the latter, some manufacturers use other oils of vegetable origin (for example, sunflower) to reduce the cost of the finished product. On the one hand, this is not a violation of production technology, but on the other hand, it leads to a deterioration in the aromatic and taste qualities of the product. At the same time, the cost of mustard oil, as experts say, is quite comparable with the cost of sunflower oil. The technological process of preparing mustard is as follows. First, it is prepared and measured in the right quantities, according to the recipe, the necessary raw materials (spices and spices), sugar syrup, marinade and mustard powder. Everything is mixed in a mixer into a mustard mass, where salt and acetic acid are then added. Everything is again mixed to a homogeneous mass and homogenized. After aging, the finished mustard is served in packaging in glass jars, aluminum tubes or in plastic containers.
As you can see, the technology for producing mustard (just like mayonnaise) is quite simple. It does not require expensive equipment and special raw materials. For this reason, even small private entrepreneurs can open mustard production. Traditionally, along with mustard, horseradish production is also organized. However, in this case, a large investment will be required. They are associated with the organization of a place for storing raw materials, which is the fresh root portion of horseradish and requires special storage conditions, like any other root crop, as well as with a more complex production technology of the product. In the latter case, the technological process includes another operation - grinding (cutting) of raw materials. Therefore, for the production of horseradish, as a rule, a separate line is used, which includes the following equipment: a universal vacuum crusher, a drum cleaning workshop, a waste separator, etc. Not every small producer (and a large one too, if he works with old equipment) can afford such expenses. And to use together fresh dried horseradish root, according to experts, it makes no sense, since when drying horseradish loses most of its properties (including taste). Another disadvantage of horseradish is its relatively short shelf life, which does not exceed thirty days, regardless of storage temperature. For comparison, mustard can be stored up to three times longer at temperatures up to 10 degrees Celsius. Thus, the production and marketing of this product is much cheaper.
It makes no sense to import plant-based spices into Russia, as the competition in this segment is too great. A large batch (10 tons or more) will be almost impossible to sell. It makes sense to supply spices in small batches if your activity was originally associated with the import of similar products (for example, you carry and sell food extracts). In this case, each batch will be taxed and must undergo mandatory certification. Dry spices, which include red and black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, etc., are imported from countries of Southeast and South Asia and Latin America. Each spice has its own characteristics. For example, cloves, which have a rich bitter-tart taste, are imported from Malaysia, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka. Coriander is grown in India, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, cinnamon in the Seychelles and Sri Lanka, cardamom in Tanzania, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, southern India, sesame seeds in South Africa and tropical regions of America, and saffron - in Turkey, Spain, Morocco and Greece. Fennel is grown in Russia, in South America, in the countries of Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Most Asian spices are delivered to European countries, including Russia, in transit through the Netherlands, where they are sorted, ground and packaged. Raw materials are rarely imported directly from Malaysia or India if they do not require processing (such as peas and peas or pods). Most domestic enterprises do not grind spices, as this requires expensive equipment and additional energy costs. It is easier and more profitable to transport already prepared raw materials from abroad.
Mixes of spices and spices are in great demand. In their composition, as a rule, the maximum natural components (chopped herbs, garlic, salt, etc.). Until the mid-90s of the last century, universal additives prevailed among such mixtures, which could be used for any dish. Now the trend has changed, and specialized mixed seasonings (for meat, chicken, barbecue, fish dishes, etc.) have come first. Since 2010, an even narrower specialization has appeared. Now on the market you can find seasonings for certain dishes (for example, navy pasta, fried wings, french fries, Olivier salad, etc.). Separation is forced. Of course, the composition of these mixtures differ slightly from each other, but this technique allows you to create the appearance of a wide range in a fairly narrow market of seasonings and spices. In this segment, the situation is complicated by high competition, as well as the need for expensive advertising campaigns to attract attention to their products. Such multimillion-dollar investments in advertising and promotion can be afforded only to large brands (mainly of foreign origin: Vegeta, Knorr, Galeo, Maggi, etc.). Small domestic firms are trying to look for low-budget marketing options and work mainly in the low price group. For example, they sell their products through small private meat and grocery stores, negotiating directly with their owners. Often, their mixtures do not even have decals, are packaged in transparent plastic bags with a zip lock and have, at best, a sticker indicating the composition. Moreover, at such points of sale "nameless" mixtures are even in great demand, as sellers recommend them, and people trust their quality more. Although many domestic manufacturers use ready-made mixtures of foreign production (of the same Dutch companies) and are exclusively engaged in the packaging of the finished product.
The demand for spices and spices, as well as for “wet” seasonings, is highly dependent on the season. So, for example, “pure” spices (for example, black or red pepper, chopped garlic, etc.) in the lower and middle price categories, used to make canned food at home, are best sold between August and October. Specialized mixtures or “pure”, but more expensive, are in the greatest demand in pre-holiday time. The geography of demand also depends on the season. So, for example, in the summer spices are bought in large quantities by public catering establishments in the southern regions. In general, fluctuations in demand for any spices are highly dependent on changes in the consumption of meat products.
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