Innovators in pepper sauces capitalize on meteoric growth in category
There may be no hotter category in the retail food industry than pepper sauces, with much of the growth fueled by craft brands pushing the envelope with bold new flavors and ingredients.
Driving this spicy trend is Melinda’s – the same brand that introduced the habanero chile pepper to America and the first to create pepper sauces with a variety of heat levels and flavors.
Led by Greg and David Figueroa – two brothers from New Orleans with chiles in their blood – the privately held Melinda’s brand has been growing at nearly quadruple the 4.73% growth rate of the $427.2 million hot/Cajun sauce category (according to Chicago-based IRI).
“So many of the so-called ‘innovations’ we’re seeing from mass-market giants in our space are things we first did a decade or more ago,” said David Figueroa, co-founder and head of brand marketing at Melinda’s. “Whether it’s introducing sauces with ghost peppers or ketchups without high-fructose corn syrup, we’ve been there, done that and, frankly, done it a whole lot better.”
Melinda’s growth is being propelled in large part by four key factors: the increasing popularity of spicy foods; America’s rapidly expanding population of Central, South American and Caribbean immigrants; the widely recognized health benefits of chile peppers; and the growing purchasing power of Millennials who are more apt to experiment with new spices and flavor profiles.
“We are seeing tremendous growth both at retail and through our restaurant partners, thanks to rapidly evolving consumer tastes and the demand for healthier condiment options,” said Greg Figueroa, co-founder, managing director and CEO of Melinda’s. “We’ve been at this for more than 20 years, but I don’t think there’s ever been a more exciting time to be in the hot sauce and condiment space. Today’s consumer demands quality, freshness and bold flavors, and nobody delivers those better than Melinda’s.”
Melinda’s hot sauces are expertly crafted to perfectly balance heat and flavor. Derived from vegetables and fruits – unlike most sauces that are primarily vinegar – they are Kosher-certified and contain no artificial preservatives or colors, zero gluten and no GMOs.
Melinda’s hot sauces pack the heat at four different levels – X for Hot, double X for Extra Hot, triple X for XXXtra Hot and four X for the XXXX Reserve – giving fans the options that are best for them and what they’re cooking.
The company’s extensive product line features Passionately Crafted Pepper Sauces with exotic ingredients from around the world. Flavors range from tangy and mild to downright incendiary, including –
- Garlic Habanero Pepper – Craved by garlic lovers and great with pizza
- Mango Habanero – “Sweet sunshine in a bottle,” it’s perfect for glazing meats, as a base for fruit salsas and as a dipping sauce;
- Jalapeño Pepper – Featuring the distinct, tangy sweetness and bite of fresh jalapeño;
- Amarillo Pepper – Full of mustard and fire, it’s just right for sausages, burgers, potato salads, salad dressings and more;
- Chipotle Pepper – This award-winning recipe goes well on tacos, burritos, chili and anything that could use a spicy and smoky bite;
- Fire Roasted Habanero & Garlic Pepper – Brings a new level of savory heat to any dish;
- Red Savina Pepper – A favorite of more demanding chileheads, the hybrid Red Savina pepper boasts more than twice the Scoville Units (SUs) of the traditional habanero — OMG!
- Ghost Pepper – Packing more than 1.2 million SUs of punch – nearly twice as hot as the Red Savina – it’s tasty, but not for the faint of heart!
- Naga Jolokia Pepper – A close relative of the Ghost Pepper, it’s tasty and brutally hot;
- Scorpion Pepper – Weighing in at just over 2 million SUs, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper gets its name from its tail that looks like a scorpion’s stinger and a burn to match!
Melinda’s product line also includes spicy ketchups, first introduced to the market in 2003. Its recipes combine the same fresh chile peppers in a ketchup using real cane sugar instead of the High Fructose Corn Syrup favored by Heinz and other mass-market brands. Featuring five zesty flavors – Habanero, Ghost, Chipotle, Jalapeno and Black Pepper – Melinda’s Ketchups are riding the same wave of exponential retail and restaurant demand.
Melinda’s pepper sauces and ketchups are available at thousands of restaurants from coast to coast, and at leading retailers including Whole Foods, Kroger, Albertsons, Central Market, H-E-B and Walmart. To find a retailer or restaurant with Melinda’s near you, visit Melindas.com/store-locator.