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‘Swicy’ Is the Hottest Trend in Food Right Now

The spicy trend in the food and beverage industry is gaining popularity, with consumers increasingly seeking bolder, spicier flavors. This trend has been embraced by most age groups, but the dominant group is still younger consumers, including Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha. Coca-Cola, for example, launched its first permanent soda flavor in years, Coca-Cola Spiced, in February, citing an increase in consumer willingness to try spiced beverages and more complex flavor profiles in food and beverages.

Starbucks also introduced a limited-time spiced line of lemonade drinks in three flavors: Spicy Dragonfruit, Spicy Pineapple, and Spicy Strawberry, inspired by the “swicy” trend of creatively combining sweet and spicy flavors. Starbucks Reserve Hot Honey Affogato and Hot Honey Espresso Martini are examples of brands trying to make it a thing as they look for ways to stretch out the spicy trend.

The trend is expected to continue, with both unit and dollar growth of spicy and swicy products. The trend is not just about rising temperatures, but also about the desire for bolder, spicier flavors in various products. Brands like Starbucks are incorporating their spicy chili powder blend into their concoctions, targeting Gen Z and Millennials.

In conclusion, the spicy trend is here to stay, with a growing variety of foods and beverages adding bold, spicy flavors to their offerings. This trend is expected to continue, with brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks looking to capitalize on this trend.

The popularity of spicy and swicy flavors in America has increased significantly, with dollar sales for food and beverages with “spicy” in the description increasing 9% year-over-year. This trend is driven by shifting demographics, such as the United States’ growing racially and ethnically diverse population, which sees wider access to more global ingredients and dishes. The younger generations, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, are more global in their outlook than previous generations, leading to more adventurous tastes in food.

Increased globalization has led to more culturally-diverse music, entertainment, and gaming becoming the norm, which in turn influences our food decisions. For example, the rise of K-Drama and K-Pop has led to the rise of spicy Gochujang, a red chili paste, in everything from dishes to snacks, drinks, and desserts. Footlong Cookies have returned to menus nationwide following months of incredible demand.

Interest is also growing for Vietnamese and African cuisine over the last four years, according to global market research firm Mintel. The pandemic has been an important accelerator of the popularity of spice, as consumers could not travel and so yearned to taste the cuisines of faraway places. This, coupled with consumers becoming more confident in the kitchen, has led to more adventurous tastes.

The longevity of spicy and swicy flavors will depend on how committed consumers are to sticking with these flavors as they grow older. Our tastebuds change as we age, and it is being fueled by the younger generation, and enjoyed by all generations, just not at the same degree. Spicyness is expected to expand to other food categories, including confections, frozen goods, deli products, and pizza varieties through sauces.

Pepsico, which owns the spicy Flamin’ Hot snack and beverage brand, reported that shoppers in North America made nearly 400 million trips to stores to purchase Flamin’ Hot products in 2023, up 31% from the previous year. Nestlé USA, which owns the DiGiorno frozen pizza brand, is leaning into the trend with product innovations, such as the DiGiorno Thin & Crispy Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza with Mike’s Hot Honey and the Tombstone taverrn-style pizza called “the Primo.”

This enthusiasm for spicy foods and flavors is driven by wanting to explore unfamiliar ingredients and cuisines, and the popularity of spicy flavors is not a fad but is here to stay.

Read More @ CNN

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