Global Flavor Innovation Trends in Hot & Spicy Foods

Explore the latest hot and spicy flavor innovations in the global food and beverage industry

July 3, 2024 – Globally, the preference for hot and spicy foods is growing as consumers seek bold flavors, sensory excitement, and diverse culinary experiences. Innova 360 approach to consumer and market research helps to identify key trends in product innovations in hot and spicy food and what may develop in the future.

Consumer Flavor Insights

Consumers are increasingly seeking out flavors that are both healthy and indulgent, with a strong preference for familiar tastes. Consumer flavor trends research shows that 1 in 2 consumers globally consider familiar flavors as the top aspect when choosing food and beverages, followed by healthy/better-for-you, traditional, and comforting flavors. Consumers choose hot and chili spices to feel stimulated and happy, and they prefer pungent spices for a healthy and comforting experience. This indicates a desire for diverse sensory experiences from spicy flavors beyond just heat.

There is a rising interest in emerging spice flavors in selected food and beverage categories, such as milk and non-dairy drinks, yogurt and non-dairy yogurt, and savory snacks. Spices like cinnamon, chai tea, turmeric, and cardamom are among the top choices, indicating a shift towards more nuanced flavor trend profiles.

Spices and Seeds Flavor Innovation

There has been a 5% rise in global new product launches for packaged food and beverages with spice and seed flavors. Asia and Western Europe lead in spice and seed flavor innovation, while Africa shows the fastest growth over the past five years.

Sauces and seasonings top the innovation categories, followed by snacks, ready meals, and side dishes. Emerging flavors in sauces and seasonings include sweet and spicy chili, and salt and pepper. Meanwhile, peri peri chili and Chinese five spice are the fastest-growing flavors in snacks. This underscores how brands are meeting the rising interest in spicy flavor profiles across everyday foods.

Hot Categories for Spices and Seeds Flavors

Consumer flavor trends research shows that alcoholic beverages have experienced a 19% rise in new product launches over the past five years, driven by a growing consumer interest in unique flavor experiences. Ready meals and side dishes also reflect this growth, displaying an upward trend since 2019. Across all categories, chili and spices are common flavors, driven by the demand for convenient global flavors.

Fast-Rising Spice Flavors

Cumin is the fastest growing spice flavor globally and has been widely embraced in new product developments over the past year. It features prominently in sauces and seasonings, bakery items, and dairy products. Several brands, such as Funchs’ Cumin and Barbecue flavor noodle sauce and Les Filles Fattoush’s Croustilles De Pita Cumin Et Piment D Alep, highlight it as a star ingredient.

Flavor Innovation Trends

Japanese Cuisine’s Flavorful Influence

Globally, 1 in 3 consumers prefer Japanese cuisine for its rich flavors. The fresh, sweet, and spicy flavors within Japanese cuisine are gaining consumer interest. Brands are leveraging this opportunity by launching a variety of Japanese curry spices and ready meals, meeting the rising demand for authentic and flavorful culinary experiences.

Consumers are Interested in Chili Flavors

The global food and beverage industry is experiencing a growing preference for spicy flavors, especially chili. Over the past five years, there has been a 4% increase in global launches of chili-flavored packaged foods and beverages. Generic chili flavors dominate global new product developments, with Asia accounting for one-third of these innovations. This hot trend drives innovation in the sauces and seasonings category.

Consumer flavor trends research displays that innovators are diversifying their product ranges by incorporating unique chili varieties into sauces and seasonings. Some brands are even infusing chili into sea-harvested superfoods like kelp to attract consumers. Additionally, ready meals and side dishes are enhancing social occasions at home, with consumers preferring socializing and cooking restaurant-style spicy flavors from scratch. Brands like Nissin’s Fire Wok are launching instant noodles, allowing consumers to easily create ramen recipes at home, making home dining more flavorful.

Moreover, alcohol brands are expanding their product ranges by incorporating local ingredients into vodka and tequila. New launches such as Fiero Tequila with serrano peppers and Smirnoff’s spicy tamarind vodka are gaining consumer attention. This indicates that consumers are actively seeking novel and exciting taste experiences in food and beverage choices.

What’s Next in Global Spicy Flavors?

Consumers are most likely to seek spicy flavors in sauces and seasonings, savory snacks, ready meals, meal kits, and soups. Innovators can focus their attention on these active categories for spice and seed flavors in new product developments. With 2 in 3 consumers open to trying new international cuisines, the growing appetite for world flavors presents potential opportunities for innovators. They can launch unique spice and chili flavors from diverse cuisines into new markets to gain a wide range of consumer interest.

New and unique flavors influence consumer food and beverage choices. Brands can capitalize on this trend by focusing on innovating unexpected chili flavor combinations, such as fusion flavors that blend hot and spicy tastes with other disparate flavors. This innovation could help drive new product launches in the spicy flavor category.

By incorporating these spicy flavor trends, brands can pave the way for exciting new culinary experiences that meet the evolving tastes of consumers.


This article is based on our report, “Flaming Flavor Trends: Global Innovation in Hot & Spicy Foods.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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