Flamin' Taste Trends: How Gen Z is Heating Up the Spice Game

A look at why America's snacks are getting more spicy.
March 24, 2024
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I’m allergic to spicy food, but I’ll be damned if I go into a supermarket and don’t come out with at least three bags of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Sometimes, it’s just worth it.

US corporations know this and are adjusting to the changes in consumer preferences and the market. The level of spice in the US snack aisle has increased, with every brand launching its version of Flamin’ Hot.

Coca-Cola is the latest trying to capitalize on the trend. On Wednesday, Coca-Cola announced Coca-Cola Spice. The new drink is its first update to their North American portfolio in three years and is set to hit shelves on Feb. 19th. While Coca-Cola Spiced doesn’t have the same heat as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, its raspberry flavor tastes like an amped-up version of the natural spice you taste in regular Coca-Cola. 

But why the sudden craze around spice? Gen Z.

  • 46% of Gen Z loves Flamin’ Hot Cheetos per Eater.
  • 95% of global consumers enjoy hot and spicy food at a mild or above heat level per a survey conducted by Kalsec.
  • “Gen Z and millennials are kicking up the demand for heat,” per Brendan Foley, the President of McCormick & Co., a portfolio of brands including Frank’s RedHot and Cholula for Food Business News.

Gen Z gets the short end of the stick for almost everything, but if you like spice, you can finally thank them for something.

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