2021 is the Year of the Spicy Revolution!

Spicy food is hot – no pun intended – and 2021 will be the year of the spicy revolution! Nikken Foods turns the heat up to find the origins of this trend and why it’s gaining popularity.

The 2021 Spicy Food Trend Is Here

We certainly took interest when Pinterest Business began calling spicy the new umami! In their annual trend forecast, Pinterest concluded that spicy food profiles will be topping the trend charts in 2021. Search terms like hot honey and jalapeño pepper recipes have risen significantly, showing that people are looking for foods with hot, spicy twists.

Additional research conducted by Kalsec found that over 50% of consumers opted for spicy menu options, both when dining out and cooking at home. This demonstrates a significant increase when compared to previous years. It’s clear that salt and pepper are no longer the go-to at dinnertime.

Spicy, zesty creations from restaurants, ready-made meals and snacks have consumers becoming more and more adventurous, and many are willing to try new and exciting flavors. As individuals become more familiar with ingredients like the nuanced serrano pepper and the hot Carolina Reaper, they seek complex flavors and unique ways to incorporate them into their next dish.

It used to be that only the most daring consumers were in search of the world’s hottest ingredients, but the availability of more mild, complex flavors has expanded this audience. Younger generations are now more likely to seek out products on the high range of the spicy spectrum, so marketers must consider this when diving into the spicy food trend.

Another driver boosting the popularity of various spices is the fact that consumers now have access to many choices when it comes to food around the world. Diners are searching for unique global flavors and authenticity, and spicy food is at the forefront of this.

The Most Popular, Spicy Ingredients

There are a large variety of spicy ingredients that chefs and brands utilize often to develop these complex flavors. These ingredients include favorites like chili peppers, tabasco, wasabi, ginger, harissa and, of course, jalapeños.

While it can certainly get more extreme than that on the Scoville scale (the tool for measuring spiciness or pungency of hot peppers) the key is balance. When these ingredients are combined with mild or sweet flavors, it can alter the level of heat you experience.

Top Brands Join the Spicy Revolution

This trend presents a great opportunity for food brands everywhere to incorporate heat and spice into their products and recipes. Whether it is a mild heat or the spiciest flavors you can think of, these options are what customers are actively seeking out.

While spicy sandwiches, chicken wings and BBQ are typically the vehicle to deliver the heat, unexpected brands like Dunkin’ Donuts are also turning up the heat. They’ve released a new Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut that delivers a unique experience: sweet and spicy.

The classic donut features strawberry icing, topped with ghost pepper and cayenne to create a spicy look and flavor!

McCormick & Company also aims to get ahead of the 2021 food trends and has focused on spicy flavors as part of its upcoming product releases. The global spices and seasoning giant forecast the heat of peppers will be naturally tempered by sweet ingredients like fruits and syrups more and more. They also expect the chilies obsession to continue, with ingredients like Aji Amarillo, Tien Tsin, and Chile de Arbol bringing the heat.

Will You Be Participating in the 2021 Spicy Revolution?

Nikken Food’s experienced applications team of scientists, sales professionals and empowered support staff can help you craft the perfect ingredients to spice up your recipes and add some zest to your customers’ favorite dishes. Contact us today!