Looking for fun chili pepper facts to share with your friends or use in your trivia night? Here are a few of our favorite stats and facts about peppers:
Jalapeños are the most popular hot pepper in the US, accounting for 5.4% of all peppers
The most popular hot pepper in the US is jalapeños. According to Statista, 5.4% of the peppers sold in the U.S. were Jalapeños in 2020. Serranos came in at #2 with a total market share of 1.7%, and poblanos snagged 1.1%.
More than 72% of all peppers sold in the US are bell peppers
Despite the growing popularity of spicy foods, bell peppers still dominate the pepper market. Field-grown peppers account for 44.7% of sales, and greenhouse-grown peppers account for 28.2% of all peppers sold in the US.
Bell peppers are 13.5x more popular than jalapeños
Jalapeños are by far the most popular spicy pepper, but they pale in comparison to the sales volume of bell peppers. Bell peppers account for 72.9% of pepper sales, while jalapeños land at 5.4%, meaning that Americans are buying 13.5x more bells than jalapeños.
Bell peppers are the only pepper that don’t have any capsaicin
While there are a wide variety of mild and sweet peppers, bell peppers are the only ones that have no capsaicin — making them 0 on the Scoville scale. However, there are plenty of other peppers that have so little capsaicin that you can’t detect the spiciness with your tongue.
The hottest pepper in the world is 880x spicier than jalapeños
Jalapeños range from 2,500-10,000 SHU, which is generally considered on the milder end of hot peppers. The current hottest known pepper, the Carolina reaper, reaches up to 2,200,000 SHU, making it 880x spicier than jalapeños.
Pure capsaicin is 6,400x spicier than jalapeños
Jalapeños range from 2,500-10,000 SHU, which is generally considered on the milder end of hot peppers. At 16 million SHU, that makes pure capsaicin 6,4000x as spicy as milder jalapeños and 7x as spicy as Carolina reapers, which reach up to 2.2 million SHU.
Resiniferatoxin is 1,000x hotter than pure capsaicin
To the human tongue, pure capsaicin is unbearably spicy — but it’s not the spiciest substance known to man. Resiniferatoxin is 1,000x hotter than capsaicin (16,000,000,000 SHU), and Tinyatoxin is up to 350x as spicy (5,300,000,000 SHU). Note that they both have the word “toxin” in their name as they are both significantly toxic to humans, causing severe burns even in very small quantities.
25% of people eat chili peppers every day
Nearly 2 billion people globally eat chili peppers on a daily basis. That’s likely because it is a cultural dietary supplement in places like China, India, and West Africa, which dominate the global population.
A bell pepper contains 181% of your daily Vitamin C needs
And a jalapeño, which is much smaller, contains 27% of your daily vitamin C. Adding chopped peppers to your morning eggs, soups, or salads is a great way to boost your daily nutrition.
Many spicy foods don’t contain any capsaicin at all
sCapsaicin is what makes chili peppers spicy, but there are only a couple of other foods that have any at all. Non-chili pepper foods commonly considered spicy like onions, wasabi, and cinnamon aren’t made hot by capsaicin. Instead, they have other chemical compounds like cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), allyl isothiocyanate (wasabi & horseradish), and sulfur compounds (onions).
All the peppers we eat come from 5 domesticated species of the genus capsicum
The 5 species of peppers that we see are C. annuum, C. baccatum, C. chinense, C. frutescens, and C. pubescens. C. annuum is by far the most common, with bell peppers, cayenne, and jalapeños being a few of examples. Many of the hottest peppers in the world are C. chinense, including the Trinidad Scorpion and ghost peppers.
Birds are immune to the effects of capsaicin
While the spiciness of capsaicin can sometimes deter some mammals like deer and squirrels, birds are immune. Historically birds have helped peppers grow in the wild by eating the fruit and then spreading the seeds.
There are an estimated 50,000 different types of chili peppers around the world
Peru has the highest diversity in cultivated chili peppers, but there are 400+ types of peppers grown around the world! Bolivia has the largest number of wild chili peppers. While we know and love edible chili peppers, some are used for ornamental or industrial purposes.