If you have created a fantastic tasting hot sauce with just enough heat to attract the avid consumer and you want to sell it to a mass audience then there are many ways to reach them. Bringing samples to festive gatherings and giving them to friends are a great start but now you are ready to expand.
How do I market my hot sauce?
The first step in marketing your hot sauce is to define who your customers are and understanding your target market. The audience is going to be classified by age group, ethnic race, occupation and income. A marketing campaign can be based on contents, brand name, logo, or environmental concerns. Marketing features of your hot sauce can be done through social media and online retailers.
According to the NY Times, young males are the target audience for the introduction of a new hot sauce product. This holds true to recent research on the increase of hot sauce consumption both domestically and globally. In simple terms…the millennial generation loves hot sauce.
The millennial generation is soon to be the largest living generation and will be surpassing the size of the baby boomers, and millennials love their Sriracha, Franks and other newly introduced gourmet hot sauces. This market is saturated with paired flavors and products containing the Sriracha branding. It is some of these products that are contributing to the popularity of hot sauce.
Further research states that it is the thrill-seeking personalities that are consuming these sauces as well in which many of the young male generation would fit. Activities associated with this personality would be bungy jumping, skydiving, white water rafting and scuba diving so marketing a hot sauce with these activities in mind could prove to be a successful marketing tactic.
Now that you have a great product and you know who you are selling to it is time to market. Check out this great article on 3 Ways To Protect Your Hot Sauce Recipe to keep your original recipe confidential and feel confident in sharing it with a mass audience.
1] Create a sauce with the highest heat level
This may be difficult to achieve but marketing a sauce having a high SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) is a good way to attract your target market. Hot sauce consumers take great pride and joy in consuming a sauce hotter than the last one. Challenges take place on YouTube and other social media outlets to find the next hottest sauce.
At the time of this article the hottest sauce in the Guinness Book of World Records was Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 raking at 9 million SHU. It could prove difficult to reach this heat level but you could get very specific and market your sauce as the hottest wing sauce or hottest salsa by refining what your sauce is. Get Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 here.
2] Market your hot sauce as being vegan
Not much needs to be done differently to the sauce to meet this marketing criteria. Making the extra effort to achieve and label your sauce with these titles could help your sauce stand out. Vinegar is a main ingredient in many hot sauces and not everyone considers it to be vegan.
Most hot sauces would not contain meat or meat sources that would make them a non-vegan sauce. so the chance that a hot sauce can reach this label is very achievable. Producing your own vinegar can ensure that you are marketing your product true to the vegan label or using vegan certified vinegar can also ensure this tile is accurate.
3] Produce gluten free hot sauce
Gluten Free means no wheat or gluten containing products and I don’t know of many sauces that contain wheat, so you already have reason for this on your label. This label on products is becoming more popular and is a simple marketing strategy.
Some flours are used as thickeners in certain styles of hot sauces but there are also many substitutes to make a thicker sauce. Simply labeling a hot sauce “gluten free” is a good marketing tactic but make sure that the ingredients reflect the label. There are over 2 million people in the US with celiac disease who may otherwise not consume your sauce unless you market it as Gluten Free.
4] Come up with a clever name for your hot sauce
A clever, eye catching product name works for every product ever sold in any industry. Just read some of the hot sauce names that stand out like “Satan’s Blood” and “Ass in Space”. This makes you look twice. I have bought these sauces on the name of the product alone.
Keep in mind that you are competing with household names like Tabasco© and Franks Redhot that have used their brand for marketing purposes. Although there may not be much cleverness to these names they stand out in popularity. This also leads to an eye catching logo or cleaver graphics to attract attention.
5] Market your hot sauce brand with a catchy logo
To me, simplicity is the best. A simple catchy logo with one or two colors can make your product stand out among flashy and extravagant artwork. Take for example the nike swoosh and the idea of creating a “new shape” to build your brand around.
I have seen flames and a combination of red peppers many times representing a hot sauce…and that’s not original anymore. The millennial generation (remember…your target market) will most often be attracted to the minimalist shape of simple designs. Packaging Strategies suggests minimalistic designs with simplistic colors and an effective use of white background.
6] Under price your hot sauce from the competitor
Again, this is nothing new in the world of sales. If you under price your competitor, it will give you a great advantage toward finalizing the sale. However, I will pay top dollar for the name brand that is my favorite, but not everyone will. If your using a similar sauce in a recipe it could be worth saving a few bucks without compromising whatever tasty treat you are producing.
The millennial population prefers a lower priced product and also will be more likely to purchase a generic brand as opposed to the more expensive name brand. Research your competitors and consider a reduced price to break into the market.
7] The shape of the hot sauce bottle attracts attention
I have seen some interesting bottle shapes from some non-traditional hot sauces aside from a standard woozy style, that really make a sauce stand out. These are usually artisan or gourmet hot sauces you purchase at festivals or online retailers. Custom made bottles can get expensive but will make your product really stand out and be unique among other competing brands.
Packaging says a lot about what is inside but can also be an extremely useful marketing tool to give your product instant recognition. The classic woozy bottle has become recognizable as a hot sauce but uniqueness can make your product stand alone as you build a brand. Read more on How to choose a bottle shape for your hot sauce.
8] Use social media to reach a large audience
This is new school word of mouth, but the idea is to get people to eat it, like it and spread the word is an old school approach to marketing. Influencers would be a great opportunity to get your product introduced to new consumers. They are more likely to research a product online and this is the method of research they would use.
There are new social media platforms being introduced than there ever has. You are most likely using them already…so use them to promote your hot sauce. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest are household names. Get your product on one (if not all) of these sites. A big part of marketing is promoting your product.
9] Focus your hot sauce on online sales
The target market for hot sauce (here it is again…millennials) is not concerned about online security risks and will be inconvenienced by having to make this purchase otherwise. Amazon, Esty, Facebook and other websites are all ways to get your product seen and sold. Shopping at a physical store is the last option that a millennial would make.
Online sales are the most obvious way to reach a large audience of consumers. The regulations for online sales are rapidly becoming similar to physical store locations but the opportunities far exceed them. However, take into consideration the cost and efforts of shipping.
10] Environmental friendliness
There are eco friendly hot sauce products using organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging. Glass bottles that hot sauce typically comes in are recyclable to begin with. Also keep in mind that organic produce can be much costlier than a hot sauce with peppers grown with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Consider the effectiveness of protecting the environment as a way of marketing your hot sauce when you are in the stage of packaging.
I would believe that major brands of hot sauce manufacturers have taken some of these marketing factors into consideration and is why they have a version of their sauce with more specific pallets in mind. There are currently hundreds of hot sauce manufacturers in the world and this will only increase. With the demand increasing through 2026 so will the number of companies looking to sell to the young male population.