In an effort to monitor consumer demand for hot and spicy foods, US-headquartered producer of natural colours and natural flavours Kalsec has developed two new indexes for the US and European markets.
Named the Kalsec HeatSync Heat Indexes, these newly developed measurement tools follow usage of more than 30 different “hot” peppers.
In collaboration with market data from Mintel’s Menu Insights and the Global New Products Database (GNPD), the US Index evaluates more than 2,400 restaurant food and drink menus, while the EU Index measures new retail product introductions.
“These indexes add another dimension to understanding the consumer’s continued desire for hot and spicy foods and beverages,” said Gary Augustine, executive director of market development for Kalsec.
In 2012, the European HeatSync Heat Index increased 16% and the US Index posted almost 8% higher levels than the prior year.
The European Index has seen steady growth since 2007, according to Kalsec, while the U.S. index has grown 21% since 2009.
The habanero pepper continued to grow in popularity with above average index gains in both the EU and U.S. markets. Jalapeno and poblano peppers showed strong growth in the U.S. for 2012, while products with cayenne peppers increased in Europe.
Snack foods showed the strongest 2012 category growth for hot and spicy foods both in the U.S. and European markets. Prepared meals and sauces provided continued growth over the last five years, particularly in the U.S. and Asian markets.
“We not only see the consumer’s desire for hot and spicy foods increasing, but also the diversity of peppers and applications for which they are being used,” said Karen Buczek, Kalsec product director of flavours.
The index is named after the recently developed Kalsec HeatSync Systems, which are designed to control the timing, intensity and location on the palate of heat (pungency) for specific application requirements.