The history of hot sauce in the U.S.

Written by Leonescu Claudia

Hot sauce is having more than just a moment; it’s having a decade. The US hot sauce market has grown by 150% since 2000 in the U.S., which means that basically every restaurant you’ll go to there will most surely have a heavenly soured Tabasco, a devilish Sriracha or Cholula or Gochujang, a Korean sauce becoming more and more popular.

Despite the strongly ethnic origins of many popular types of hot sauces, their popularity increased over the years are marking down the new culture of flavor and the thirst of adding ethnic diversity to their plates. Did you know that this year, a study conducted by NDP found that 56% of households now have hot sauce in their kitchens, while Sriracha is now stocked in 9% of total U.S households, and in 16% of households headed by millennials? It seems like everybody’s hooked up on that spicy liquid that delightfully pains your interiors. Also, according to IBIS, the U.S. hot-sauce racket was the 8th fastest growing industry in the country last year.

The Sriracha sauce is named after Si Racha, a district in Thailand. Huy Fong’s sauce is made from grinding, rather than roasting, a variety of California-grown peppers, plus salt, sugar and vinegar and it has a tangy chili and garlic texture. Mouthwatering, isn’t it? An interesting fact about this particular sauce is that even though they did not invest as much in advertising, many Americans have been promoting it for years on social media platforms and, moreover, culinary specialists are keen on believing it makes a great addition to dressings and other sauces.
Cholula is a Mexican-based sauce made out of a special blend of red peppers, piquin peppers, and spices. It was introduced to the American taste buds in 1989 and during the ‘90s it became one of the go-to hot sauces. Besides its famous old school wooden cap, Americans have a tendency to reach out for it because its hot kick is known to last longer than any other sauces.

Gochujang is known as “a great, big, savory flavor bomb”. Its special sweet-hot-salty flavor is what makes it truly shine among other sauces. Gochujang is a common name for a condiment that is widely used in Korean cuisine. So, besides this, how is the company trying to keep up with the competition? They’ve introduced a squeeze bottle similar to a ketchup one, in order for it to be more easily enjoyed and also have a family-size appearance. In addition to this, they made a gluten-free and vegan version of the authentic sauce so that everybody could enjoy it.

Tabasco, which is the original American hot sauce, is trying to keep up with the trends that have been piling up. So what’s their approach to this? Launching new flavors such as Sriracha flavor (with chipotle, jalapeño, and habanero as key ingredients), which is completing the already existing 7 different flavors.
Companies and researchers are aiming to innovate the hot sauce market right now. Andy Dunn, the founder and executive chairman of the clothing company Bonobos, is currently working on an experiment with green hot sauce recipes. His idea of changing the composition and possibly having a jaw-dropping effect on the Americans is creating a cilantro-based sauce. The biggest challenge he’s facing right now is the fact that such an ingredient tends to go bad and it needs to be refrigerated. But he’s not the one to quit.

Forget about mayonnaise, BBQ sauce or ketchup, because hot sauces are here and they are not going anywhere.

About the author

Leonescu Claudia

Initially when I turned to writing it was a decision made on some pretty shallow grounds, first off it was Carrie Bradshaw building a fire under my writing juices. Spicing that up with some reading, somewhere in my 2nd year of collage I was already fascinated. Margaret Laurence once said ”When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.” and I find that painfully true.
If it's something you're drawn to, you reach for it in any of its forms, either it's in a newspaper, on a blog, maybe a book or a novel or you just go full-freelancing, you reach for it:)

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