Category Insight: Dips and Spreads

Nothing says party or gathering better than a dip or spread. Maybe it’s because a crunchy vehicle is needed to enjoy them but there’s no question a certain festive feeling is associated with dips. We  go one step further and say that spreads lend an air of nostalgia—like pimento cheese in the South, peanut butter and jelly on a school lunch sandwich or French onion dip with ruffled potato chips. While dips and spreads can be classic, today’s renditions are reflections of trends driving our industry. Consumers are being introduced to ethnic flavors they might be reluctant to taste. 22% of consumers are more likely to try a flavor they aren’t familiar with if it’s paired with something they are.1 Let’s take a dip into the trends that are spreading faster than you can say queso.

Ethnic Spreads

Consumers turn to condiments to brighten up a boring sandwich and spreads are taking on that same role. A veggie wrap suddenly transforms into a taste of the Middle East if a little zhoug sauce is laid on first. Zhoug (also known as skhug), is a spicy pepper, olive oil and cilantro-based green spread that packs a wallop of heat and fresh flavor. The dips and spreads that are the hallmark of Mediterranean cuisine can be found in the fast-casual segment at Nanoosh in New York that showcases shakshuka spread, tahini, and tzatziki.

  • For a taste of India, achaar is used to dress up rice, roasted potatoes, eggs, grilled cheese and much more. Achaar is a tomato based pickled relish that blends fruits and veggies into a wonderful spread. With 49% more consumers craving Indian foods, there is a place for achaar in the pantry.2        

Better For You (BFY)

  • A catchy name on a spread can certainly draw some attention especially if it’s better for Chut-Up, developed by Chef Hugo Uys, takes South African spices and a little monk fruit sweetener to elevate ketchup, chutneys, and sauces. Chut-Up’s Beet Ketchup and Apple & Caramelized Onion Chutney are created from minimally-processed ingredients of the highest quality without added sugar.
  • Functional and indulgent nut spreads? Yes, please! Nuts ‘n More blends nuts like cashews and walnuts with functional ingredients like added protein or caffeine to make spreads a consumer will feel good about eating. The Birthday Cake High Protein Peanut Spread features savory turmeric sprinkles and low sugar. We especially like the Chocolate Maple Pretzel that contains gluten-free pretzel bits right in the jar. 

Healthy Fast-Casual Meets the Middle East

The fast-casual industry was on a stratospheric climb from 1994-2014 and is expected to reach almost $67 billion by 2020.3 Dips are a key component of Middle Eastern cuisine and when dips cross with fast-casual, you have some very happy consumers.

  • By Chloe, NYC vegan fast-casual sensation has a new Middle Eastern concept called Dez, where everything is fun and colorful. Their bright pink hummus made with beets matches the festive decor.
  • Greek-inspired Cava has made it easy for consumers to bring home their dips with a shopping trip to Whole Foods. One taste of Cava’s Crazy Feta cheese dip with jalapeno and it’ll be on every piece of toast and vegetable in the house.
  • Other Middle Eastern dips worth noting are muhammara and toum. Muhammara blends peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, lemon and spices to complement Syrian and Turkish dishes while toum is a creamy dip from Lebanon blending salt, lemon juice, garlic, and oil. You can find wonderful muhammara at Anoush’ella in Boston, a newer fast-casual spot hoping to become the Chipotle of Middle Eastern cuisine.


  • Consumers love avocado toast; just check out Instagram to see the over 909,000 #avocadotoast posts. Good Foods’ launch of Avocado Mash shows they understand their consumers. A single-serve container of seasoned, mashed avocados makes it easy to spread right on a piece of toast, bread, or pita.
  • Pre-formed compound butters make it especially easy to take a ho-hum protein, veggie or breakfast waffle and make them special. Slate Roof Creamery (Drexel Hill, PA) introduced three new unique flavored butters including Himalayan pink salt, Pineapple Sriracha, and Cranberry Orange expanding their already popular line.

Yogurt Based Dips

  • Blending hummus and yogurt appears to be the new trend especially in small packages. Tru Flavors has introduced Dippers, a shelf-stable hummus in both sweet and savory Packaged with sea salt crackers or cinnamon cookies, Dippers make it easy for consumers to have a healthy bite. Bean purees or dips with Greek yogurt are partnered with flavors of Apple Cinnamon or Fiesta Chile Lime making for a unique snack.
  • Homemade, locally sourced yogurt is the foundation of Prayani Raita Indian Yogurt Dips, made in Hart, Michigan. The dips come in three flavors reminiscent of India that include Cucumber, cilantro and mint; Carrot with cumin and coriander, and Tomato with coriander and cumin.
  • DanoneWave is taking Australian-inspired nonfat yogurt and zipping it up into three new Wallaby Organic dips that will have consumers dipping everything from artichokes to zucchini.4 With three varieties including Everything Bagel, Spicy Red Pepper, and Zesty Buffalo, we think our chicken fingers have found a new partner.

Want to spread your wings with a new dip? We offer real food ingredients that are right at home in any dip or spread and add a jolt of mouthwatering umami.



  1. Mintel, 2018

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