BOCA RATON, FLA. — McCormick & Co. is dialing up the heat across its portfolio, leveraging its leading brands including Frank’s RedHot and Cholula to gain relevance among younger generations seeking spicy foods.
“Gen Z and millennials are kicking up the demand for heat,” said Brendan M. Foley, president and chief operating officer, during a Feb. 21 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton. “They are more experimental and prefer authentic, bold and spicy flavors more so than the generations before them. Their love with heat has driven growth in inherently hot foods like hot sauce as well as in foods with hot and spicy profiles like salty snacks. While 90% of consumers prefer some level of heat, consumers also want a balance pairing of flavor and heat.”
The Hunt Valley, Md.-based company is poised to meet the explosive demand for heat, one of the “fastest-growing flavor profiles” across the company’s industrial business, driven by snacks and other center-of-store grocery categories, “as well as increased consumer demand for all things hot when dining away from home or getting takeout,” Mr. Foley said.
“The demand for hot and spicy is on fire, which is a significant tailwind to driving McCormick growth,” he said. “While quantifying the size of a particular flavor attribute across our entire portfolio is not an exact science, we estimate that our heat platform represented at least 20% of total McCormick sales in 2022. And that will only continue to grow as we continue to capitalize on the growing demand for heat.”
He pointed to the company’s capabilities including consumer insights, science and technology advantages and sourcing and manufacturing expertise, adding, “Our flavor scientists have an unsurpassed understanding of how our raw materials, their origin, aging, processing, cooking and fermentation, bring out the nuances and differences in heat and flavor.”
McCormick is building partnerships with companies including Anheuser-Busch and Eggland’s Best — “from kegs to eggs,” Mr. Foley said — to bring heat to more consumer occasions and product applications. Additionally, the company is launching new hot sauce flavors this year, including Frank’s Dill Pickle and Cholula Reserva made with agave tequila. The Frank’s RedHot frozen line of snacks is expanding, too.
“We are heating up your eating and drinking experiences globally no matter where or when,” Mr. Foley said. “The younger generation is driving hot sauce growth, and we plan to drive it to be the condiment of the next generation.”