Eating spicy food and hot sauce condiments is not a new phenomenon in dining. Spicey foods can be traced back for centuries and nearly every culture has some form of spicy cuisine. The idea of spicing up a meal is not new but has become increasingly popular, especially among certain generations.
Hot sauce has become popular because it has become a staple condiment in almost every nation. It has become the trend to expand on classic hot sauces and try new “flavors”. Some hot sauce brands are become popular by endorsements from celebrities using slogans and merchandise.
I will be honest…I cannot stand a hot sauce with extreme heat…but I love writing about it. The great thing about hot sauce is its ability to have variable levels of heat and spice for ALL to enjoy. All hot sauces have one thing in common and that is that there is some level of spice to them.
What I LOVE about eating hot sauce is that there is a HUGE variety of flavors…and not just hot pepper-based flavors. It is the variable heat levels and a huge variety of sauces available that has contributed to the popularity of hot sauce. These two things together allow the condiment to reach new and larger audiences.
Today new hot sauce companies are being established at a higher rate than they ever had. This makes the options for selecting a sauce that meets your needs even greater. This far outranks the purchasing options in stores for other condiments like ketchup and mustard.
Consumers have accepted hot sauce and demand it
Consumers have accepted spice as part of their diet and at some levels prefer hot sauce over other condiments. The options and varieties on store shelves have increasingly expanded over a few decades and don’t show indications of diminishing. Many other condiments have expanded to include a spicy version to capitalize on the popularity of hot sauce.
Hot sauce falls under a broad category
The term “hot sauce” or “spicy” is a general category with very broad creations that can be classified. Other condiments that have adapted spice in their recipes are now falling under this category. This can make it seem as if a specific hot sauce is popular.
Hot sauce is a healthy condiment
Hot sauce is gaining popularity as the ultimate condiment due to its non-fat, vegan-friendly, low-calorie contents. Some of these occur in a simple mix of hot peppers and vinegar and some are the trend in consuming condiments.
Does hot sauce taste good or is it just trendy?
The hot sauce that we know today as Tabasco® has not changed much, if at all in 150 years. That says something about the flavor and not just the trend. Trends come and go along with popularity but a flavor you can rely on prevails over time. The idea of “spicing” up a meal is centuries old and can get dated back to Mayan culture. Were they adding heat to a meal because it was trendy?
Although hot sauce has had trends like many foods, the popularity of the leading sauces like Franks RedHot, Tabasco® and Sriracha have remained consistent. In other words, they have not been sucked into the “trend” of consuming extreme heat or exotic flavors.
Trendy, catchy, in demand
Hot sauce as a condiment has demonstrated that it is more than a trend, although there are fads it has followed. A trend can be slightly different from popularity or something catchy and in demand. However, hot sauce touches upon all of these.
According to wgsn.com the trend in hot sauces for 2021 is Asian-inspired chili mixes such as Chinese chili oil. Some of these sauces are specific to a certain type of pepper or pepper flake but are expanding to be used on meals outside of standard Chinese entrees.
Food aficionados foodnavigater.com state the sweet and heat combination for hot sauces such as hot honey is gaining popularity as well and some say it is here to stay. These “sauces” are honey mixed with or infused with hot peppers and used on foods non-typical of hot sauces. The introduction of new foods is also a way to expand what consumers are using it for and this will help the sauce become popular.
How does a hot sauce become popular
One method for a hot sauce to become popular is to follow the trends in food culture. Hot sauces have steered away from the classic hot sauce recipe and have used gourmet, artisan, and craft hot sauce recipes because this is now what consumers are demanding. The foods that it is used on have expanded beyond the staple culturally inspired foods and have reached out to snacks, desserts, and beverages.
Condiments with spicy flavors or hot sauce-infused flavors are becoming popular. Other popular condiments are jumping on the bandwagon and adding specific hot sauce branding to their condiment lineup.
A strong reason for the popularity is the visibility of a product, slogan, product name, or logo. If something is seen visually around the world people become familiar with it and it becomes a popular representation of the product.
For example, I recognized the Sriracha bottle before I ever tried the product due to its image and the marketing merchandise associated with it. I tried it because it was popular which indicated to me that it must also taste good…it did!
Health concerns have always been at the forefront of concerns for consumers. Many condiments that have been produced to reduce fats or have lower calories than the competitor are doing so because this is a popular concern for consumers.
Americans love hot sauce because of the variable levels of spice
Hot sauces are becoming hotter and hotter, and people are becoming more tolerant of these heat levels due to their cultural background and acceptance of these flavors. One of the great things about hot sauce is that it has so many variables in heat level from one sauce to another.
I don’t like extreme heat and no matter how popular or trendy a sauce is I won’t try it if I think it will hurt me. I do however love a bit of spice or kick at the end of a sauce with a sweet start and there are plenty of sauces that will provide this.
Are spicy snacks, desserts, and beverages popular?
Spicy desserts, beverages, and snacks are gaining popularity. These are like condiments with fused hot sauce flavors. Nuts, popcorn, and soda with hot sauces infused or drizzled over are becoming more popular.
Popular by region
Certain types or styles of hot sauces were at one time more popular in certain areas of the globe, and this was largely based on the cultures that consume these sauces, but this is not so true anymore. Hot sauce now has a global approach due to its popularity. Chinese chili oil and masala are now just as popular in barbeque-laden regions like Texas as they are from the home territory.
Within the US and regions around the globe hot sauce proves to be popular. There are specific brands, types, and styles that are more popular than others. Google trends displays data for what is searched on Google, and this also indicates the search terms popularity or interest. Tabasco brand sauce shows to be popular in areas where you would expect it to be.