Know the difference between gourmet, artisan, and craft hot sauces


Hot sauces have come a long way since a simple mixture of hot peppers and vinegar was introduced over 200 years ago. Rare and exotic ingredients are used, the sauces are given, unique, funny or eye-catching names, and the costs for producing and purchasing them are going up. Why are gourmet, artisan, and craft hot sauces so popular and what is the difference?

Gourmet, artisan, and craft hot sauces are becoming more popular due to the many unique combinations of ingredients and the handmade approach to making sauces. Many of these styles of sauces are made in smaller amounts and producing hot sauce in small quantities with rare ingredients can drive costs up. There are only subtle differences between the flavor offers of these sauces but as a whole, they are distinct from a traditional or classic hot sauce.

Gourmet as a general term

The term gourmet can often be referred to as expensive or containing expensive and rare ingredients. In recent years hot sauces have gained popularity and the recipes have expanded from traditional recipes to combinations of atypical ingredients. The number of ingredients that manufacturers are using for each hot sauce recipe hot has increased.

What makes a hot sauce gourmet?

Gourmet can refer to the quality, or rarity of certain foods or ingredients used to make them. Traditionally gourmet was a term used to define fine-crafted and presented foods available to only the wealthy. Apply this term to a hot sauce and it could include new pepper varieties like Carolina Reaper, a rich flavored vinegar like balsamic, or a rare fungus like truffles.

Because of the growing interest in consuming hot sauce the demographics that are enjoying these type of hot sauces have become connoisseur. Simply labeling a hot sauce as “gourmet” without adding rich flavors or rare ingredients could be a marketing flop.

Rare ingredients make unique hot sauces

Hot sauces that contain rare mushrooms or other ingredients are doing so because consumers have a desire to try these new and exciting flavors. Some of these ingredients, because of their scarceness can become very expensive to use in a hot sauce in noticeable amounts. If most hot sauces are using hot peppers, vinegar, or a set of standard ingredients then almost anything else could be considered gourmet.

Now, the ingredients that were once considered rarely used in a hot sauce are becoming common and the term gourmet does not stand out as it once did. Manufacturers and smaller companies are reaching back to capture traditional processes or handmade sauces.

Artisan style hot sauce

The phrase artisan is a homemade and hand-crafted sauce, or a hot sauce made traditionally without production machines. They will usually use wholesome organic ingredients and include locally grown produce or locally packaged products.

By definition, the word artisan refers to “skilled workers making products by hand”. This is usually meaning that the ingredients may be all-natural and organic and the sauce does not contain any chemical additives.

Does hot sauce taste better because it is made by hand?

Most consumers would agree that using fresh produce that is not grown in a greenhouse or overproduced through production machinery will probably taste better. However, the term “artisan” or gourmet and craft can also be used as a marketing campaign for these hot sauces.

Craft hot sauce

Craft hot sauce can be similar to artisan in that they are produced in smaller batches with unique flavors using nontraditional ingredients. The size of the operation for craft hot sauce production is usually small but may not have the handmade approach like an artisan sauce.

Each classification of these sauces could be quite similar to each other in taste but will be vastly different from a traditional or classic hot sauce. A gourmet, artisan, or craft-style hot sauce usually has a larger combination of ingredients to create different layers of flavors or will use different flavor profiles to make their essence stand out.

Exotic ingredients are being introduced

Hot sauce flavors began expanding years ago and have exploded to include added exotic spices, alcohol, and mushrooms. New strains of hot peppers are being cultivated, new ingredients are being “discovered” and consumers are demanding the new heights and strides that the hot sauce market is making. It is this demand that allows for these types of sauces to be bought and sold, regardless of the higher costs.

The cost of manufacturing is increased

Some gourmet hot sauces can be much more expensive than a traditional or classic-style hot sauce due to exotic ingredients and the complex process of making them. Artisan or craft sauces will cost more because they are not mass-produced or produced in bulk. That is the whole idea behind the creation of the sauce. Mass production can drastically reduce costs and these costs can continue to decrease as quantities increase. But that defeats the purpose of producing and labeling a sauce as craft or artisan.

Because of the smaller scale of operations produce items are purchased in smaller quantities to keep them from diminishing in quality. Purchasing produce in these smaller amounts will make them much more expensive, therefore driving the costs of the product up.

What is the sales trend of gourmet, artisan, and craft sauces?

The trend in sales for gourmet, artisan, or craft sauces is purchasing one bottle at a time. This is for reasons that online retailers and small hot sauce manufacturers are becoming more common but are not popular with consumers. Therefore, customers are purchasing one or two bottles of an unfamiliar sauce instead of manufacturer selling pallets of a well-known sauce to grocery stores for mass distribution.

Consumers are demonstrating that they are willing to pay a higher premium price for these hot sauces to get a luxury or gourmet product. While it is true that these sauces accrue higher costs for manufacturing the term gourmet, artisan, or craft label can be part of a marketing campaign to justify the higher priced sauces.

A good marketing campaign can sell a hot sauce

These three labels or classifications of hot sauce are authentic and can be used in a marketing campaign. Many sauces may have a classification of the style or type of sauce that they are under the umbrella of a hot sauce. This can direct the consumer to search for these products.

Why are consumers purchasing gourmet, artisan, and craft hot sauces?

There continues to be an increase in hot sauce sales and projections show these sales growing more over the next five years. There has become a culture of consumers eager to try new hot sauce flavors as well as increased levels of heat. The willingness to try new hot sauce creations has fueled the increased sales.

The combination of flavors is almost endless, and the trend is using ingredients never before used in a hot sauce. The trick is to get them sauces to taste good, appear to be appealing, and still fall in the category of gourmet, artisan, or craft hot sauce.

The demographics consuming these sauces are accepting of a costlier product in exchange for high quality. Now is a great time to take advantage of these opportunities and make your unique gourmet, artisan, or craft hot sauce.

Making your own gourmet hot sauce

Making a gourmet hot sauce starts with the right selection of hot peppers and layers of flavors from several other ingredients or flavor profiles. Combining sweet or sour fruits and their juices with the hundreds of spices available creates a rich and delicious sauce. Creating a gourmet hot sauce can easily be achieved through the guidance of the Hot Sauce Recipe Workbook (Coming Soon…June 1st)

This workbook will introduce you to new ingredients and processes to allow you to expand your knowledge of hot sauce recipes and create awesome gourmet, artisan, and craft hot sauces. The Hot Sauce Workbook is available for less than it costs for a single bottle of sauce. Read more on how the workbook will help you.

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