CHICAGO — Fifty-six per cent of households have hot sauce on hand in their kitchens, and sriracha, an Asian hot sauce, is stocked in 9% of total U.S. households and 16% of households headed by someone under age 35, according to the NPD Group’s audit of U.S. kitchens. The popularity of hot sauce also extends to away-from-home dining experiences, according to the market research firm, with cases of hot sauce shipped from food service distributors to restaurants and other food service outlets increased by double-digits over the past two years.
“Hot sauce is clearly part of the diet of many U.S. consumers, and it’s a food that crosses gender, age, ethnicity and income,” said Annie Roberts, vice-president, NPD SupplyTrack, a service that tracks product shipments from food service distributors. “Hot or pepper sauce is a large seasoning category, and for food service manufacturers and operators it’s about understanding the category’s share, where the category is growing and where it isn’t, and from which other categories it’s stealing share.”
Louisiana-style hot sauce is still the leader in terms of case volume shipped from distributors to U.S. food service outlets, but shipment growth has tapered because of the variety of hot sauces now available, according to NPD. Case shipments of some habanero hot sauce flavors, particularly habanero with fruit flavors like mango, grew triple-digits in the year ended Dec. 31, 2014, compared with the same period a year ago. There were double the cases shipped of chipotle hot sauce flavors and sriracha in 2014 than in the previous year.From a demographic perspective, women, ages 18 to 44 and 55 to 64, and men, ages 18 to 54 and 65 plus, eat more than the average amount of hot sauce over the course of a year, NPD said. Dual-income household with no children eat more hot sauce than any household lifecycle. Consumers in the South eat more hot sauce than any other region of the country, but those in Central and Western U.S. also eat an above average amount. Eating less than an average amount of hot sauce are those consumers in the East.