- In the United States, 56% of consumers eat spicy foods at least once a week, according to a January 2015 online survey of 1,300 U.S. consumers by Kalsec, a company that sells extracts and other food ingredients. The survey found that 25% of consumers more often ate spicy foods than they had a year ago. Also, 20% of consumers agree that foods taste better with some level of heat.
- The preferred hot chili is jalapeño, followed closely by cayenne and chipotle. Other chilies increasing in popularity are habanero, poblano, serrano and ancho. Consumers are also seeking spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger that are associated with health and wellness.
- Although consumers want new flavors and convenient foods, they don't want artificial ingredients. "Today’s consumers are looking for bold flavors that still deliver clean labels," Bruce Armstrong, research and development manager-proteins of LifeSpice Ingredients, told Food Business News.
Millennials are a large part of the reason for the trend toward more spicy foods. "To put it simply, they want to eat food that is new, that they can feel good about and that is a little adventurous," Dax Schaefer, corporate executive chef and director of culinary innovation at Asenzya Inc. told Food Business News.
Another driver of the spicy trend is foodies, which Mintel says nearly half of all U.S. consumers consider themselves. In particular, foodies are driving the spicy meat trend, making craft meats popular. However, adding seasoning to meat products does have technical challenges, such as compensating for the acidity of some seasonings.