Why You’re About to See Spice in Unexpected Places

Back in December, industry titan Frito-Lay published their projected snacking trends for 2020. Among the largest and most anticipated trends were spice and “global influence” – a term that, when practically applied, often translates to even more spice. According to the company, we can expect to see more chiles in particular, including ghost, poblano, chipotle, and jalepeno.

Another trend identified by Frito-Lay is “unexpected combinations” – consumers, particularly millennials and Zoomers, are looking to be surprised and delighted by the culinary innovations that hit shelves. Today’s average grocery aisle is on the verge of sensory overload, and the modern shopper is looking for something that can cut through all that noise and really catch their attention.

This sort of approach certainly caught our attention this week, since we just had to buy these spicy treats from Hot Scream. Combining peppery heat with creamy sweet ice cream, this is exactly the kind of original, forward-thinking product that we expect to do very well in 2020.

Consumer love for sweet and spicy flavor combinations seems to be quickly growing into a global phenomenon. In 2018, Mars’ Chinese division launched a spicy Snickers bar using Sichuan peppercorn. Mars was able to predict this trend two years ago using customer analytics from Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce platform. The smash success of spicy Snickers was so great that it made a significant contribution to Mars reaching their goal of having new products account for at least 10% of revenue in China.

Remember, “spicy” doesn’t necessarily always mean “heat”. We saw this with Coca-Cola’s interpretation of the trend this past holiday season with the release of limited-edition Cinnamon Coke. Coca-Cola is no stranger to calculated innovation; the company has released an impressive suite of new flavors over the past few years, including Georgia Peach and California Raspberry, based in part on data collected from Coke’s Freestyle machines. For Coke to bet big on cinnamon in the American market is a strong indicator that the spicy-sweet snacking trend is officially mainstream.

We have called out this trend on Instagram, where we are running a new series called #TrendTuesday. Follow Works Design Group’s account for weekly insights for a variety of categories from across the grocery store.

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