It’s no secret that people love spicy food. With Flamin’ Hot Mountain Dew dominating grocery store shelves since April, a new spicy breakfast cereal launched in August, and Zaxby’s “hot sauce popsicle” stunt, it’s clear that brands are taking note.
We combined insights from market research reports published in 2022 with Google Trends and new projections to get a new and clear look at the state of the spicy food market in 2022 and beyond:
Online searches for hot sauce increased by 210% between 2008-2020
Google Trends shows total growth of 210% in search volume for hot sauce between 2008-2020, showing a strong increase in consumer interest and demand (Google Trends).
Search volume for hot sauce projected to grow 15% YoY in 2022
While 2022 is not yet over, search volume for hot sauce is projected to grow at least 15% YoY compared to 2021, reaching their highest levels ever annually.
Expect a strong e-commerce holiday season for spicy food products like hot sauces, hot sauce-making kits, and novelty foods like the One Chip Challenge.
Hot sauce market size to grow 78% by 2026
Valued at around $2.75 billion in 2020, the hot sauce market is projected to reach $4.9 billion by 2026 — that’s an increase of 78%. It is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7.9% CAGR in that time period (Facts and Factors, 2021).
Jalapeño salt expected to reach a market value of $1.8 billion by 2030
Jalapeño salt is seeing increasing interest globally (Allied Market Research, 2022). With a growth rate of 6.6%, it is expected to reach a market value of $1.8 billion by 2030. This growth is despite the market taking a hit due to restaurant shutdowns during COVID-19.
Jalapeños account for 5.4% of all peppers sold as America’s most popular hot pepper
Jalapeños are by far the most popular hot pepper in the US (and Mexico!) In 2020, 5.4% of the peppers sold in the U.S. were Jalapeños. Serranos accounted for 1.7% of sales, and poblanos snagged 1.1% of the market share.
72%+ of all peppers sold in the US are bell peppers
Between field-grown (44.7%) and greenhouse-grown (28.2%) bell peppers, 72.9% of all peppers sold in the US are bell peppers.
Americans buy 13.5x more bell peppers than jalapeños
While jalapeños are the most popular spicy pepper in the US, bell peppers are still far more common. With bell peppers accounting for 72.9% of all peppers sold vs. jalapeños 5.4%, that means that Americans buy 13.5x more bells than jalapeños.
Why is interest in spicy food on the rise in 2022?
While there isn’t recent academic research on the rise of interest in spicy foods, market research experts speculate that COVID and globalization each contribute to the growing popularity of spicy foods. Over the last few years, people have become increasingly open to trying new and different foods as spicy foods become popular on social media and food blogs. Similarly, people became more willing to try and cook new things during COVID lockdowns, and even as movement restrictions have eased or disappeared in most parts of the world, 2022’s data shows that the momentum is as strong as ever. It’s interesting to note that while interest in spicy food is on a sharp incline, hot peppers still only account for a small percentage of pepper sales in the U.S.
Spicy food market report infographic
Facts and Factors. (2021, June). Global hot sauce market size, growth, trends, industry share and Demand Analysis Forecast, 2021-2026. Facts and Factors. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.fnfresearch.com/hot-sauce-market
Allied Market Research. (2022, March). Jalapeno salt market share, size: Forecast period 2021-2030. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/jalapeno-salt-market-A15895
Google Trends. (n.d.). Google trends: hot sauce. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=hot%20sauce