- The hot sauce industry is thriving in the U.S.; the segment posted about 150% growth since 2000, beating out the growth of BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise combined, Forbes reported.
- Hot sauce is not dominated by a particular brand, unlike ketchup and mustard. The industry is fairly diversified, with the top three brands by market share — Tabasco, Frank’s Red Hot and Huy Fong’s Sriracha — holding only about one-third of the industry's billion dollars' worth of annual sales.
- Boutique brands are becoming especially popular as more consumers demand a wider range of heat levels — including hotter peppers like habanero or ghost — and flavor combinations in their hot sauce — ranging from fruity to smoky.
Consumers' increasing demand for spicier foods, especially among millennials and foodies, is a major driver for the hot sauce industry. Because heat is so versatile, consumers are using hot sauce to spice up everything from eggs and pasta to chocolate and smoothies. Manufacturers could streamline that process by adding hot sauce as an ingredient in their products or including a packet of hot sauce in a packaged meal.
Diverse and exotic flavors are another major trend in food and beverage today. Hot sauce's versatile flavor profile lends it to a wide range of combinations that entice adventurous palates. Manufacturers could impart new flavors using the pepper itself, such as jalapeno, habanero or hatch, though taste-testing will reveal if certain peppers' flavors are masked by their extreme heat level.
Another key component in the rise of chile peppers and hot sauce is the health benefits they can provide. Hot sauces and pepper substances are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and can aid weight loss, serve as pain relief and could even lengthen life spans. Depending on the level of heat they use, manufacturers could potentially market certain health claims along with products that contain hot sauce as long as they have the research to back up those messages.