All praise hot sauce, the now and future king of American condiments.
Recent data from industry analyst group Euromonitor show that annual growth across what is officially known as the “table sauce” category has stalled for every condiment except in the “spicy chili and pepper sauces” group.
This makes sense: Condiment innovation pretty much peaked since the invention of the hotdog (tartar sauce presumably died out with the luxury ocean liner; would you touch sea food on today’s cruise ships given new stories from the past few years?)
Here’s the chart. Hot sauces are expected to grow 3.6 percent in 2015 (and decline slightly going forward).
The principal reason for the trend: demographics. According to separate data from Nielsen, African-Americans and Hispanics—whose share of the overall population is expected to climb 15 percentage points by 2060—comprise nearly 50 percent of the hot sauce market.
But you can find anecdotal evidence everywhere, from Taco Bell launching its “hottest sauce ever” earlier this year to Popeye’s introducing new Tabasco-flavored chicken. Perhaps the most illustrative is the success of the Kickstarter campaign for a craft hot sauce store in Brooklyn, Heatonist. The store opened in April.
"The rise of maker culture has seen thousands try their hand at making hot sauce,” founder Noah Chaimberg wrote of the campaign. “Like craft beer in the 90’s, it seems like new hot sauces hit the market every day: there have been over 175 hot sauce campaigns on Kickstarter alone. Never before has there been so much choice for hot sauce lovers. It can be overwhelming.”
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.