Melanie Bartelme
Melanie Zanoza Bartelme is a Global Food Analyst at Mintel, providing insights on global innovation and consumer trends across a number of food categories.

The Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show resumed in Las Vegas last week, giving attendees a look at the latest in specialty food and drink. Associate director and global food analyst Melanie Zanoza Bartelme served on the show’s Trendspotter Panel, helping identify noteworthy products and rising trends.

One trend identified by the panel was ‘Peppers are hot,’ recognizing consumers’ growing desire for spice and heat. Below, I’ve highlighted five food and drink products that explore this trend.

1. The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley’s Chipotle Sour Blend gives mixologists a convenient base for making alcoholic beverages with a spicy zing. Made with a smoky blend of chipotle, mesquite, and citrus flavors, this ingredient adds a complex spiciness to cocktails. These flavors are especially attractive to Millennials, who over-index in their appreciation of spicy, smoky and savory flavors in cocktails.

Source: The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley








2. Manitou Trading Company’s Manchamanteles Chile-Fruit Starter aims to help home cooks create manchamanteles, a stew of peppers and fruits. While some consumers may not be familiar with this dish, the combination of fruit and spice is becoming more familiar. Many grocery stores, for example, now offer cut fruit packaged with the chili-lime spice mix Tajin. In addition, consumers are becoming more interested in the savory applications of fruit, with 45% of US fruit users saying that they would like to see more seasoned fruit for grilling.

Manitou Trading Company Manchamanteles Chile-Fruit Mole Sauce

Source: Manitou Trading Company








3. Runamok released a new series of infused maple syrups, each featuring a different pepper. The Chile de Arbol Infused Hot Honey, for example, provides a heat level similar to cayenne, while the Chipotle Morita Infused Smoky Hot Honey offers a smoky, sweet heat. Consumers are becoming more aware of the nuances between different pepper varieties, and Runamok does a great job of highlighting the complexities between each offering.

4. Bella Sun Luci’s Sun Dried Tomato Chipotle Topper Sauce takes a familiar (and dare we say, old-fashioned) base of sun-dried tomatoes and gives them a modern update by infusing them with chipotle peppers. This product then becomes an “everything” sauce, suited for use with “vegetables, wraps, sandwiches, tacos, pasta, hamburgers, and more,” the company says. In this way, sun-dried tomatoes become not just relevant again, but an integral part of consumers’ home-cooking routines.

Sun Dried Tomato Chipotle Topper Sauce 8.5 oz

Source: Bella Sun Luci








5. Terrapin Ridge’s Hot Habanero Bacon Jam is notable because it is the second iteration of its spicy bacon jam. The company said it experienced so much success with its original Hot Pepper Jam that it decided to launch an even spicier version for consumers who want to take things up a notch. This results in a way to offer consumers the level of heat they feel comfortable with in a product that is already familiar, a key consideration when launching new product.