Kalsec, a leading global producer of high quality natural color and flavor extracts for the food and beverage industry, released its latest research tracking global hot and spicy food trends. The 2019 Spicy Perceptions eBook captures global consumer trends, sensory research and market product analysis as part of Kalsec’s ongoing commitment to provide leading heat management products.

“As consumer trends develop, and the desire for more specialized heat and peppers grows, Kalsec remains dedicated to leading the hot and spicy flavor space through ongoing research and innovation,” said Jill McKeague, Executive Director, Product Management, Spice and Herb Flavor Extracts. “We are excited to share the results of our 2019 research which expanded to track global and regional preferences for heat and spicy foods, overlaid with product analysis.”

Enjoyment of hot and spicy foods is at an all-time high with 95% of global consumers reporting they enjoy foods with a heat level of mild or above. Kalsec’s 2019 Spicy Perceptions eBook provides an in-depth look at consumer preferences for spicy foods across the globe and offers important insights for product innovation. Key takeaways include:

  • Interest and consumption of hot and spicy foods continues to grow. More than half of global consumers surveyed are eating spicier food more often than they were just one year ago. This number doubled compared to 2017 data.
  • Regional differences occur in desire for spicy foods and the perceived definition of heat levels. The perception of heat pungency varies across the globe. Research found the Asia-Pacific region has the highest tolerance for heat, followed by the Americas, then Europe. While consumers in the Asia-Pacific region eat the most amount of spicy foods, consumers in the Americas are most interested in trying new spicy flavors. 
  • Specificity of the heat source is important to consumers. More than half of global consumers surveyed agree that the source of heat, such as the specific pepper varietal, matters to them. In fact, knowing the pepper varietal matters most to consumers from the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions.
  • Consumers are most comfortable trying new spicy flavors in familiar savory foods. More than 60% of consumers surveyed agree that savory foods taste better with some level of spiciness. Consumers are also more likely to favor their own cuisine when it comes to trying spicy foods, and they prefer to try spicy items as a main dish or entrée. However, shifts in how and where consumers enjoy spicy foods are evident across different demographics.
  • Heat level in combination with other flavors can inspire trial. Differences among food matrices and composition can affect how pungency is perceived. Research found that 48% of consumers are interested in trying spicy and sweet flavor combinations, while 39% of consumers are interested in spicy and tangy combinations. 

Additional insights and information are available in Kalsec’s 2019 Spicy Perceptions eBook available for download: https://info.kalsec.com/download-spicy-food-trends.