The Latest Seasoning Craze: Pickles

The flavor is versatile, adds sweetness and sourness and is subtle enough to layer with other flavors.

August 10, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Pickle flavor is the hot seasoning of the summer, reports the New York Times. The versatile flavor is viral on social media, and it’s appearing in myriad foods, including chips, popcorn, dips, salad and pizza.

Pickle seasoning can add sweetness and sourness to food and is subtle enough to add with other flavors, Sally Lyons Wyatt, an executive at IRI, told the Times.

“It’s a tanginess that appeals to a lot of consumers, especially younger ones,” Bret Thorn, a senior food and beverage editor at Nation’s Restaurant News, told the Times. “And I don’t think people say, ‘I’ve tried a lot of bold flavors, now I’m going to go back to blander ones.’”

Manufacturers are catching on to the trend, which has been around for some time. Blue Diamond Almonds released a spicy dill pickle version in March 2020, while Frito-Lay offers pickle-flavored chips for its Lays, Doritos, and recently, Ruffles, lines. Trader Joe’s has a few pickle-flavored items, including dill-pickle-flavored popcorn, and its dill pickle seasoning blend sold out soon after it hit shelves in May.

An East Coast pizza maker told the Times he has been asked for a pickle pizza dozens of times by customers, and the company created a recipe with white sauce, mozzarella, dill pickle chips and ranch dressing. The pizza shop introduced it in 2020, and customers loved it. It’s now a permanent menu item.

Like many things, social media has helped accelerate the pickle craze. Grillo’s Pickles, which makes traditional pickles and a fresh pickle salsa, has leveraged social media to collaborate with other food brands. The company partnered with Utz on a limited-release Grillo’s potato chip and also with Ithaca Hummus on a Grillo’s flavor dip.

“There are so many ways you can have fun with your food,” Eddie Andre, the branding director for Grillo’s Pickles, told the Times.

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