Herbs are those plants that have a plethora of uses and benefits in different industrial applications. Fresh herbs, however, are perishable and more susceptible to bacteria and fungus. Thus, to prevent the damage of versatile plants, these herb are converted into a dried format. Dried herbs are a result of the water removal from the fresh herbs by using drying techniques such as air drying, microwave drying, and vacuum drying. Drying intensifies the taste of many herbs by concentrating the flavor aspect.
Dried herbs find ample of applications in both, the B2B and B2C segments. Dried herbs are extensively used in the B2B sector in food processing applications, cosmetics formulations, and medical remedies. In terms of value, the global dried herbs market is expected to reach a market value of US$ 4,162.7 Mn by the end of 2026, with an expected CAGR of 4.7% over the forecast period. The drivers for the growth of the dried herbs market include the increasing demand for processed foods and convenience foods, the longer shelf life of dried herbs, the growing disposable incomes of consumers, the health benefits associated with dried herbs, and innovations taking place in the health food sector.
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Fast-paced Life Increasing the Demand for Processed Foods
Nowadays, a demanding work culture and busy lifestyles have forced consumers to opt for ready-to-eat meals or other ready-to-eat food items. Dried herbs allow customers to enjoy tasty and flavorful foods that consume less time for preparation. The increasing demand for processed foods such as snacks, pickles, beverages, and others has resulted in the rising demand for dried herbs that are used to enhance the flavor of these products.
Longer Shelf Life of Dried Herbs
Dried food and ingredients such as herbs are witnessing a rise in demand, due to the technologies being used for their production. Techniques such as vacuum and air drying have affected the possibilities of using dried herbs for a longer period when preserved in specified conditions. Dried herbs have a shelf life ranging from weeks to even months, which helps manufacturers and consumers use them in the future. Due to increased shelf life, the applications of dried herbs have attained broader prospects.
Rising Consumer Preference for Convenience Packaging and Easy-to-Use Products
Dried herbs are readily available through various retail formats. This ease of access drives consumers toward using dried herbs even more. Dried herbs are small and easy to carry; the use of convenience packaging for dried herbs is also known to increase the demand among consumers. Consumers also are becoming readily open to international cuisines, flavors, and ingredients, which is influencing their eating habits in a big way. The strong influence from various cuisines and cultures is also resulting in the growth of the exotic dried herbs sector.
Growing Demand for Natural Flavorings a Key Opportunity
Hotels/restaurants and food processing industries have remained dependent upon synthetic ingredients to flavor their offerings. Inducing distinct aromas and colors in food products increases their appeal among consumers, and many times, hotels and restaurants use these artificial flavors to boost their offerings. However, as consumer awareness regarding organic and clean label products has witnessed an increase, food manufacturers have been forced to eliminate harmful synthetic ingredients from their products and incorporate natural variants. The growing clean label and organic trends are largely affecting various industries in the food and beverage sector. Manufacturers are using organic dried herbs in their formulations and products to cater to the preferences and demands of consumers. Dried herbs are widely used in healthy food products such as herbal teas and smoothies. The increase in the demand for natural flavorings is an opportunity that dried herb manufacturers can leverage to their advantage.
Application of Dried Herbs in Non-Food Industries
The pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries have provided market prospects for the growth of the dried herbs market. Dried herbs are used in the formulation of several medical remedies, due to their associated medical benefits. Several infant formulations use dried herbs to help infants in the treatment of various medical issues. The cosmetic and personal care industry also uses dried herb powder as an ingredient in the formulation of several personal care products related to hair care, skin care, face care, oils, and others.
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Growing Culture of HoReCa
Increasing Westernization and urbanization have resulted in the ever-increasing culture of hotels, restaurants, and cafes, which has further created the demand for dried herbs. Food service providers are using dried herbs in their sauces, salads, dressings, meals, and fresh drinks to enhance the flavor of their foods and beverages. Consumer inclination towards these cultures is increasing due to increasing disposable incomes, which has further led to more demand for dried herbs.