|Founder||Tom Knibbs and Jim Dygas|
|Headquarters||Chicago, IL, USA|
|Tom Knibbs - President & Mixmaster; Jim Dygas - Chief Creative and Flavorista|
|Products||spice blends, grilling rubs, seasoned sea salts, creative pancake mixes|
|Owner||Tom Knibbs and Jim Dygas|
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2010)|
Urban Accents is a specialty food company based in Chicago, Illinois that manufactures and distributes spice blends, grilling rubs, sea salts and a full collection of products designed for use in gourmet cooking. The company's products are sold in major retail chains such as Target, Macy's, Sur La Table, Neiman Marcus and Cost Plus and local gourmet stores across North America.
Tom Knibbs and Jim Dygas started Urban Accents in 1996, and the company has experienced double digit growth annually. In the first years of the company's existence, Urban Accents focused solely on developing spice blends. Now, they manufacture over 100 different items today and are still best known for some of their first spice blends. In the spring of 2008, the business acquired a new 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) warehouse and office space in the Ravenswood neighborhood in Chicago.
The company began with 24 spice basics and blends, the majority of which are still sold today. Now, the company manufactures 42 different spice blends and divides them among five flavor families: American Adventures, Pan Asian, Old World Classics, Latin Heat and Global Exotics. They also use these flavor families to categorize other products.
In early 2007, the company released a new type of seasoning called Dryglaze, which combines savory spices and natural sweetening agents like honey, molasses and vanilla sugar to form a glaze on baked or grilled meat dishes. This new creation received attention at the July Fancy Food Show in New York. The Philadelphia Inquirer mentioned two types of these Dryglazes in its review of the show. The following year, the company was voted into the Top 10 Summer Grilling Essentials by the Chicago Tribune's free daily newspaper, Red Eye. The company was also featured in the April issue of Fancy Food Magazine for their Athenian Herb Dryglaze.
Knibbs and Dygas have expanded the focus of Urban Accents to include a collection of drink mixes and lemonade mixes. The company sells six cocktail mixes: Spicy Bloody Mary, Minty-Lime Mojito, Mixed Fruit Sangria, Key Lime Margarita, Triple Berry Cosmo and Creme Brule Chocotini. Their lemonade mixes include traditional fruit flavorings and unexpected flavor pairings: Black Cherry, Tropical Key Lime, Strawberry, Tangerine, Raspberry, Jalapeño, Cucumber, Ginger, Lavender and Spiced.
In recent years, the company has focused on developing products for the holidays. The majority of their holiday products are designed for Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are four instant powdered drink mixes for spiced cocoa, hot buttered rum, mulling spice and eggnog. The company also makes meat rubs for turkey, ham and lamb, and its turkey brine received favorable reviews from The Washington Post's commuter newspaper, Express.
In 2008, the company introduced a line of side dish seasonings for Thanksgiving that includes spice blends for gravy, cranberry dishes, yams and stuffing. Also included in its new items for the holiday season are two chocolate martini mixes.
The company's packaging and design received recognition in Package Design Magazine in 2008. It was a finalist for Product Line of the Year in 1996 by the National Association of Special Food Trade.
They are well known in the specialty food world for product design innovation.
- "The Spice Guys Urban Accents Story". Urban Accents Creative Culinary Blends.
Tom Knibbs and Jim Dygas experimented with flavor pairings, blending spices from every region of the world to create interesting blends, with interesting names to share with their friends.
- LaBan, Craig (July 11, 2007). "Cool eats (thankfully) at the Fancy Food Show". Philly.Com. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
There were slightly less authentic, but equally tasty, homages to other ethnic flavors, like the gingery Korean marinade from Wild Thymes (great for beef ribs or pork), or the inventive "dry glaze" rubs from Urban Accents in Chicago, which add an extra sweetness to cocoa mole and Bombay curry that lends the cling of a caramelizing crust. All-American Niman Ranch went international with its lemongrass-spiked Thai-spiced sausage.
- . Fancy Food and Culinary Products http://www.fancyfoodmagazine.com/. Retrieved 7 May 2014. Missing or empty
- Henry, Patrick (October 11, 2009). "Transformed Packaging Gives the Dryglaze Line". PackageDesign. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
Such were the realities faced by seasonings purveyor Urban Accents and its design firm, Creative Commune, in repackaging the Dryglaze™ line of granulated flavorings for grilling and baking. Nevertheless, the strategy that the Chicago partners chose for redesigning the existing container was radical: leave nothing unchanged except the product inside.