Consumers have been eating commercially available hot sauce in bottled form for almost 200 years. While hot peppers or spiciness has maintained itself as being a common ingredient in hot sauce, trends in consumption has allowed the expansion into other ingredients.
Classic and traditional hot sauce flavors have held strong in the hot sauce market, but new gourmet and exotic recipes are gaining popularity. Consumers are purchasing more spicy snacks and Gen Zer’s are starting to enjoy hot sauce as well. Hot sauce market forecasts indicate that hot sauce sales will increase through 2028.
Table of Contents
Overall trend in hot sauce consumption
The trend in hot sauce consumption is the introduction of new artisan, craft made and gourmet hot sauces. The rising cost of inflation will cause hot sauce production costs to increase, however slightly against other products. Consumers will accept new flavors and hotter, tastier sauces that are centered around sauces from Asian, Indian and Mexican cultures.
Top sellers in the global hot sauce industry
The hot sauce market is currently dominated by 3 manufacturers who make Tabasco (Mcllhenny), Frank’s RedHot (McCormick), and Sriracha (Huy Fong). These are classic flavors that have maintained success by delivering an excellent product and marketing it to the right demographics.
Other notable contenders in the global hot sauce market are Crystal Baumer Foods), Texas Pete’s (Kraft Heinz) and Cholula (McCormick). According to Expert Market Research some factors that lead to increased hot sales are innovative sauce flavors, increased population of specific cultures, the availability through ecommerce platforms and unique flavor varieties.
Hot sauce business revenue can range from a few thousand dollars a year to hundreds of millions because consumers love small startup hot sauce companies but still appreciate the classic flavors that have been built up for decades.
Hot sauce has been made with hot peppers, vinegar, garlic and salt since the beginning of time and these flavors continue to sell. It’s the classic Louisiana hot sauce flavor with the use of an aged cayenne peppers which proves to be a top selling hot sauce product. This combination of classic ingredients both keeps consumers grounded in a classic flavor and also wanting to explore different flavors.
|Classic ingredients||Trending ingredients|
|o Aged cayenne peppers|
o Distilled white vinegar
o Lemon, lime & citrus
o Fruits & vegetables
o Cactus juice
The trend in hot sauce manufacturing is to use non-traditional ingredients outside of the hot pepper, vinegar and garlic combination. Hot sauces have used less spicy pepper like cayenne, jalapeno, and habanero peppers but are now incorporating Scotch bonnet, Trinadad scorpion and ghost peppers as being Common Peppers Used in Hot Sauce. Consumers are continually experimenting with sauces of extreme heat value, and many are looking for the next hottest sauce to challenge their tolerance levels!
Hotter, hotter & hotter
Peppers are getting cultivated to create hotter peppers and this leads to the manufacture of hotter sauces and incorporating consumer challenges. Hot peppers, hot sauces and spicy snacks are getting hotter and hotter over time with the Scoville rating reaching new levels.
The introduction of the Carolina reaper and Pepper X have allowed hot sauces to reach the 2,000,000 SHU range. At one time the habanero was one of the most common and hottest peppers in the world at 350,000 SHU. Compare that to the ghost introduced in 2000, the Trinidad scorpion 2011, and the Carolina reaper introduced in 2012,
How can hot sauce get any hotter?
Hot peppers are made into an extract or oleoresin capsicum which is a pure form of capsaicin and will significantly increase the SHU when added to a hot sauce. Pure OC is contained in pepper spay in amounts up to 12% according to Science Direct Pepper spray can reach a Scoville rating of 5 million states Scientific American so that can give a good indication as to how hot it is compared to some extracts that can reach as high as 9 million and some forms of crystalized capsaicin that can reach up to 16 million. Products that reach a Scoville rating of 16 million are available for purchase and are the trend in novelty hot sauce related items but are not generally intended for consumption.
Cost of hot sauce now
At the current rate that the price for a bottle of hot sauce has increased the average price by 2028 could reach $25.00 to $30.00
Due to the rise of inflation the cost to manufacture and purchase a bottle of hot sauce will inevitably rise. This is primarily due to inflation and the rising cost of raw ingredients. According to US Inflation Calculator the inflation rate is 3.7% per year but the demand for hot sauces and spicy condiments has driven the cost higher then the inflation rate.
The cost of hot sauce 10 years ago
Statistics produced by the Wayback Machine from Fire Hot Sauces.com indicate that industry giants like Blairs Hot Sauce, Da Bomb Ground Zero, and Dave’s Insanity have risen in costs by up to 75% over the last 15 years.
|Hot Sauce||Then||Now||% Increase|
|Blairs Hot Sauce||$6.95||$12.00||75%|
|Da Bomb Ground Zero||$10.95||$18.75||70%|
Cost of sauce 5 years from now
Historical figures and stats demonstrate that due to inflation the cost of manufacturing products will go up and will therefore cause the price of individual products to go up. Compare this also to historical cost of gourmet hot sauces over the last 8 years and the costs to purchase a bottle of hot sauce will increase by about 25%. This means a bottle of hot sauce may increase in costs on average 1 dollar per year.
Increased cost of hot peppers
It’s no secret that the cost of food-based products has risen substantially over the last ten years. Although websites like TitleMax and the Bureau of Statistic don’t specifically track the rising cost of hot sauce, many of the same raw ingredients used to make hot sauce have increased in price by as much as 44%.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, over the last 10 years the cost of peppers has only risen about $.21 per pound but this can be a volatile market. Hot peppers, being one of the main ingredients in hot sauce can affect the price of the product.
Outsourcing to a lower grade hot pepper could cut costs on hot sauce production
Mexico is the largest supplier of hot peppers according to the United States Agency for International Development and origin can have a lot to do with cost. Transportation and variety certainly play a roll but the proper climate to grow peppers is most important.
How to fight the rising cost of hot peppers
Tracking the cost of hot sauce manufacturing can begin with the cost of the main ingredient in hot sauce, the hot peppers. The USDA has established 3 grades for peppers: US Fancy, US No. 1 and US No. 2. A higher food grade is considered a better-quality product and therefore will cost more. However, higher grade means higher quality and the current trend in hot sauce manufacturing is quality.
The cost of hot sauce over the next 10 years
Today, on average a gourmet hot sauce can cost from $15.00 to $20.00 a bottle. At the current rate that the price for a bottle of hot sauce has increased the average price by 2028 could reach $25.00 to $30.00. That equals a lot of profit to be made from a single bottle of hot sauce if production costs can be kept down.
Hot sauce business trends
The trend in hot sauce business is twofold: Small startup businesses are operating at local farm markets or larger condiment companies are jumping on the hot sauce “bandwagon” and producing spicy condiments. According to IBISWorld there were only 345 hot sauce production businesses in the US. This number only includes manufactures of hot sauce and not companies who sell their sauces through Private Label or Co-Packing. Although these number has grown over the past 5 years it is a good indication of future business demand.
Most hot sauce companies hire co-packers to produce their sauce for them and sell it under their own brand label
Hot sauce market growth
According to statistica.com the sauce and condiment market is expected to grow by 2.34% through 2028. In addition, Fortune Business Insights and Global News Wire both project the hot sauce market to reach 5.09 billion by 2030 from the current market size of 3.09 billion in 2023 based on historical data from previous years.
IBISWorld states that top companies generate less than 40% of industry revenue leaving 60% for small businesses or small craft hot sauce manufacturers
Hot sauce profit margin
A small hot sauce company can have a high profit margin if you can produce a bottle hot sauce for under $1.00. According to Brex.com a healthy profit margin in 10% or higher, making anything close to 20% a high profit margin. Some of the most successful hot sauce companies in the business have profit margins over 20%.
Widely used and most popular ingredients
Most hot sauce recipes will contain a liquid, solid, and spices. The percentage of each of these ingredients and the combination of ingredients varies significantly with each recipe. The rise of unconventional, exotic and rare ingredients continues to be a popular base for hot sauce recipes with no favor to any one particular ingredient.
The gaining popularity of fermented hot sauce
Fermented hot sauce has become a huge commodity based on its tangy flavors and potential health benefits for consumers. Read more here on the Benefits of Fermented Hot Sauce. According to research published in Forbes, the popularity of fermented foods was up by 149% in 2018.
The growth of hot sauces includes fermented hot sauce although the growth rate is expected to be diffident per region states tabchilli. Fermented hot sauces, like the aged cayenne peppers in a Louisiana style hot sauce, have proven to be popular.
Most popular hot sauces on the internet
In an article published by allrecipes with data published by Instacart indicates the top selling type of hot sauce to be a low to medium heat Louisiana style hot sauce using an aged cayenne pepper. This classic flavor has stood the test of time as being a consumer favorite.
The internet has been a HUGE platform for exchanging new and interesting hot sauce flavors
Best-selling hot sauces
Some of the top selling hot sauces through online stores or grocery retailers are classic and popular flavors and not so much of the up-and-coming gourmet hot sauces. This is partly due to the branding image that a great tasting hot sauce can create.
Walmart indicates similar results as Instacart with many of the top sellers being a low to medium heat cayenne pepper based hot sauce. Are these big hot sauce names? Maybe.
|Frank’s RedHot||Huy Fong Sriracha||Frank’s RedHot||Old El Paso Mild Red|
|Huy Fong Sriracha||Flybyjing||Mae Ploy Sweet Chili||Frank’s RedHot|
|Cholula||Mike’s Hot Honey||Cholula||Cholula|
|Texas Pete’s||Lao Gan Ma||Tapatio||Kroger Sriracha|
|Tapatio||Frank’s RedHot||Tabasco Sriracha||Pace Medium Picante|
|Tabasco||Bibigo Gochujang||Sky Valley Sriracha||Louisiana Brand|
|Burman’s||Truffs||Tabasco||Taco Bell Mild|
|Louisiana Brand||Da Bomb||Great Value Louisiana||Tabasco|
|Valentina||Capital City Mambo||Lao Gan Ma||Terry Hos Sauce|
|Crystal||Samyang Buldak||Panda Express Chili||Fresh Cravings Salsa|
How the internet sells hot sauce
It is no surprise that according to Digital Journal the internet has seen a surge in hot sauce sales due to the convenience of home delivery. Social media has catapulted hot sauce sales for some up-and-coming brands like Truffs and other classic brands like Tabasco have embraced it. Some hot sauce names that are major brands now got their start with social media.
Most popular foods with hot sauce
Hot sauce is meant to go with food. Like hot sauce itself over time, the foods that it is consumed with has also developed beyond a main dish and into snacks, desserts and side dishes. Trending foods to try with hot sauce include watermelon, pizza, popcorn, quinoa and ice cream.
Most popular new brands of hot sauce
The popularity of a hot sauce can vary depending on various factors such as its taste, marketing efforts, availability, and consumer preferences. Some hot sauces become popular relatively quickly, especially if they have unique flavors or are endorsed by popular chefs or celebrities. However, it can take time for a hot sauce to gain widespread recognition and become a staple in the market. Building a loyal customer base and establishing a strong brand presence can contribute to the long-term popularity of a hot sauce.
What is the future of hot sauce
The trends of hot sauce consumption will change very drastically in the next decade. Consumers will be reaching for more artisan and gourmet flavors as new manufacturers produce new exciting flavors. Consumers are always looking to try the next hottest sauce.
Google Trends show spicy snacks on the rise over the last 12 years. The snacks are getting spicier, hotter, and bolder and range from cadies, popcorn, jerky,
Next demographic of consumers
According to Supermarket Perimeter the Millennial and Gen Z demographics make up 50% of hot sauce sales and these consumers are continually seeking new hot sauce flavors. Research indicates that up coming generations will embrace the current trends and this includes hot sauce consumption. The larger population of Gen Zer’s gives clear indication that hot sauce will continue to be consumed at the rate that it is until this generation reaches their 40’s.
Gen Z is likely to follow online trends states YPulse, which is why online hot sauce challenges like The Hot Ones gained popularity and continued its momentum. The other 50% of the population that consumes hot sauces are cultures native to India, Mexico, and Asia and the increase of these cultures is partially driving the growth of the hot sauce market.
How to make money selling hot sauce over the next 10 years
The model for making money in the hot sauce market will continue with small startup companies hiring co-packers to produce their specialty recipes and making sales through local farm markets and online retail locations.
Conclusion – Hot sauce trending in 2024
According to Scientific American there is evidence that humans were consuming spicy foods 6,000 years ago. If the desire to enjoy spiciness has lasted that long, it surely isn’t going away anytime soon.
If you can make a fermented aged pepper hot sauce for under $2.00 a bottle and grasp social media with a marketing campaign, your hot sauce profit margin could project to be over 40% through 2028 and you could be part of a $5 billion industry.