Summer Heats Up with Spicy Food Trends

From fast food to home kitchens, hot peppers are the flavor of summer

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (May 2016) – From ghost pepper hot sauce at fast food restaurants to the increasing demand for fresh specialty peppers in the produce aisles, America is turning up the heat this summer with the continuing rise of spicy foods.

According to the trend-tracker NPD Group, hot sauce sales increased 150 percent from 2000 to 2013 alone, and more than half of the nation’s households have hot sauce in their pantries. Fast food chain Wendy’s is offering its super spicy menu again for a second year in a row, topping their chicken sandwich and fries with ultra-hot ghost pepper sauce.

Millennials are driving the spicy food trends as they seek out adventurous foods and authentic, ethnic flavors, which many times include spicy dishes and the use of hot peppers such as jalapeño, habanero, and Thai peppers. However, the trend does not stop with Millennials.

Heat seekers are also looking for fresh peppers to spike their dishes or make their own “nuclear” hot sauces. They are wild about fresh ultra-hot selections such as ghost and Trinidad Scorpion peppers, as well as dried hot peppers.

To best display fresh peppers, group them all together, next to bell peppers. Secondary displays with other ingredients will also inspire authentic dishes. For example, pair habanero peppers with tomatillos, tomatoes, and onions for Latin dishes, or Thai peppers with lemongrass, ginger, and turmeric for Asian dishes. Don’t forget to include signage with recipe suggestions. “Caution” signage for the ultra-hot peppers is also recommended.

Interested retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors can contact Frieda’s account managers to explore its extensive selection of fresh and dried peppers.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce celebrates a 54-year legacy of inspiring new food experiences for friends, family, and food lovers everywhere. Credited with introducing more than 200 specialty fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets, Frieda’s has helped launch unique items like kiwi fruits, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, habanero peppers, Sunchokes®, and organic finger limes. Founded in 1962 by produce industry icon Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is now owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Inspire. Taste. Love.