Spicy snacks heat up the summer food spread

Potato chips
Potato chips / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

The hot temperatures on the thermometer are not the only “heat” being felt recently. Spicy snacks have taken over the summer food conversation and everyone is ready to devour the taste of those bold flavors.

Several years ago, the global spices, ingredients, and dishes started to take over not only restaurant menus but also the grocery store food shelves. Even though the plain potato chip will always have prime space, it know sits side by side with chipotle, gochujang, and a variety of other bold flavors.

Whether the food trend filled a void, satisfied a craving, or otherwise invigorated the flavor conversation, snack brands have run with the idea. From partnering with celebrated chefs on snack launches to collaborating with other companies on limited edition snacks, no one wants their product to appear bland or boring.

Often, the spicy flavor infusion comes from embracing ingredients from other countries and cultures. For example, Kettle Brand recently launched Gochujang chips for the summer. The popular Korean condiment adds a punch of flavor to a wide array of recipes. Bringing that taste to the snack aisle not only piques people’s interest in trying the chip but also opens the bag to a wide array of culinary creativity.

Speaking to the new Kettle Brand Gochujang chips, Nick Hammitt, Vice President of Salty Snacks Marketing at Campbell Snacks said, “Global cuisines including Korean flavors continue to grow in popularity in the US, especially with younger, Zillennial consumers. We know Zillennials crave flavor-centric food experiences and are much more open to profiles and ingredients sourced from a wide variety of cuisines, especially sweet and spicy combinations. This is exactly how we approach the flavor-forward experience in our Kettle Brand limited time offerings. We see LTOs as an opportunity to showcase unique and surprising flavors, brought to life on a kettle chip, in an authentic and delicious way.”

What spicy snacks should fill the pantry this summer?

While the Kettle Brand Gochujang chips are a delicious example of the spicy snack trend, they are not the only options on the shelf. From spicy to swicy, everyone is excited to get that tingle on the tongue and the flush in their cheeks.

Utz Mike's Hot Honey Extra Hot
Utz Mike's Hot Honey Extra Hot / Utz

For example, Utz Mike’s Hot Honey EXTRA HOT potato chips are back for the summer. While many people love drizzling that sweet, spicy honey on a wide variety of foods, these chips are perfect for summer barbecue. Whether paired with a classic burger or used as a crunchy, spicy topping for a mac and cheese, the snack inspires all types of uses.

Continuing the love for Mike’s Hot Honey, Club Crisps added a collaboration with the brand. The combination of the buttery, crunchy snack with the swicy flavor is delicious. While the Club Crisps are more of a snack versus a traditional cracker, the food is delicious on a cheese board or charcuterie plate. From the texture to the flavor, it offers a scrumptious contrasting note.

For food lovers who prefer extreme flavors, Snak Club collaborated with the popular Hot Ones YouTube interview show to create a line of snack mixes. The Snak Club Hot Habanero Snack Mix might be the super intense offering inspired by the Los Calientes Rojo, but the Snak Club Smoky Sweet Snack Mix is a little more approachable for the delicate palate. This snack mix collaboration is another example of infusing the infatuation with spice into food that people love.

Summer snacking is on fire. For those people who might not want the heat, it could be time to grab some milk and brave the flames. Bold flavors are not going away anytime soon.