Heinz is bringing the heat to its ketchup and Heinz 57 steak sauce.
Three new spicy ketchups are hitting store shelves now: Tomato Ketchup Blended with Chipotle (a medium spicy option), Ketchup with Jalapeño (hot), and Ketchup with Habanero (hotter). Also new: Heinz Hot 57 Sauce.
Adding peppers makes sense, because hot sauces have been, well, hot in recent years.
- Sales of hot sauces are up 14.6%, totaling $927.5 million, over the 52-week period ending Feb. 26, 2023, according to research firm Circana.
- Sales of sauces in general, including hot and Cajun sauces, steak sauce, barbeque sauce, and picante sauce are up nearly 8% totaling $2.36 billion, Circana said.
- Nearly 50% of millennials and Gen Z shoppers say they regularly use spicy sauces and seek out new options, Heinz says, citing Mintel Group research.
“Consumers have told us that they’re interested in more than just the heat level, they also want to understand the source (of) … where does the heat come from?” Pedro Navio, U.S. president of taste elevation, meals, food service and Kraft Heinz Ingredients, told USA TODAY.
Heinz is giving diners plenty to season their meals with. The Chipotle Ketchup is “smoky and earthy,” Navio said. The Jalapeño Ketchup “is hot. It’s aggressive,” he said. The Habanero Ketchup, which has dried peppers blended in, is “for those that like (the sauce) really hot, extremely hot, this is the one to go to,” Navio said.
And the new Heinz Hot 57 Sauce has jalapeño pepper purée as an ingredient and “is the perfect low-cost way to add heat and elevate your meals,” the Heinz website states.
The sauces, Navio said, “go well with basic things like fries, burgers, too. It could go from tacos to your pizza. I think it unlocks really a great potential in terms of where and how consumers are going to be consuming ketchup.”
Profiling hot peppers:What’s the hottest pepper in the world? It’s over 300 times spicier than a jalapeño.
Heinz is cooking with Ed Sheeran, too
These aren’t the only products spicing up Heinz’ repertoire. Hitting shelves in the U.S. in June, is a pair of Tingly Ted’s hot sauces created with the help of singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran (‘Ted’ is his childhood nickname): Tingly Ted’s The Tingly, a medium hot sauce that “feels like a warming hug in a bottle,” according to promotional materials, and the Xtra Tingly, “for anyone who wants to take the heat up to the next level.”
Sheeran is a known Heinz ketchup fan, with a tattoo of the brand, on his arm. In turn, Heinz released its ketchup in a limited edition “Edchup” Sheeran bottle in 2019.
Heinz teamed with him to make the sauces, which have a smoky flavor, notes of lemon and are made with red jalapeños, capsicum chilies and a mix of herbs and spices.
“I love sauces, that’s no secret. But the older I’ve got, the more I love and need spice with every single meal,” Sheeran says on the Tingly Ted’s website. “I’ve had (the sauces) on tour with me recently to try them with all sorts of meals, and there really isn’t anything they don’t go with (except bananas, don’t do that).”
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Heinz, merged with Kraft Foods in July 2015 to create Kraft Heinz, is no stranger to spicy sauces.
Previous Heinz ketchups have incorporated tabasco (more than a decade ago); sriracha (2015); and jalapeño, which hit stores in 2012 and remained on shelves, but is being replaced with this new one, which is made with five times the amount of jalapeño.
New products are part of Kraft Heinz’ plan to increase sales of $2 billion in North America from 2023 to 2027.
That strategy could be a fit with consumers who, due to inflation, are still eating more at home than they are at restaurants but “are looking for elevated experiences, which includes experimenting with flavors,” said Joan Driggs, vice president of thought leadership for Circana.
“We also gained a lot more confidence in the kitchen during the pandemic, and now people are looking for short cuts,” Driggs said. “Sauces and marinades give us a dose of authenticity and flavor experience, but in a convenience format.”
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.