“Swicy” treats are the big food trend of the summer

Spice up your life.

“Swicy” – a mix of sweet and spicy – ​​is the new food trend this summer, and many brands are trying to join this movement – ​​perhaps surprisingly for hot days.

“The spicy food trend is here to stay,” Sally Lyons Wyatt, a packaged goods and food industry consultant at market research firm Circana, told CNN.

The “Swicy” trend is due in part to the growing variety in America and the introduction of a wider range of ingredients. Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

“I think we're going to see a lot more of that,” she added. “There's a rebound now and we're seeing both unit and dollar growth in hot and spicy products.”

Starbucks is just one of many locations rolling out new menu items. In April, it introduced three new Spicy Lemonade Refreshers drinks that the company says are “inspired by the 'swicy' trend that combines sweet and spicy flavors in all sorts of creative ways.”

The coffee chain has also spiced up its offerings at its Starbucks Reserve Roasteries and select stores in Chicago, New York City and Seattle with wildflower honey infused with premium chili peppers and expanded the drinks menu to include the Hot Honey Affogato and Hot Honey Espresso Martini models.

In February, Coca-Cola released a “spiced” version of its original recipe – as a result of the growing interest in spices.

“If you go to the shelves, you'll see that the spiciness has increased because consumers' sense of taste has evolved. We realized this could be an opportunity for us,” Shakir Moin, Coca-Cola's chief marketing officer for North America, told the Associated Press at the time.

Starbucks has added the Hot Honey Affogato and the Hot Honey Espresso Martini to the menu. Starbucks

Lyons Wyatt said younger millennials, Generation Z and Generation Alpha are the cohorts seeking spicy flavors, and Circana found that 11% of 25- to 34-year-olds like bold flavors — up 7 percentage points from 2019.

This is due in part to increasing diversity in America and the introduction of a wider range of ingredients, Jennifer Creevy, director of food and beverage at trend forecasting and analysis firm WGSN, told CNN.

“Take the rise of K-dramas and K-pop, for example. Fans of this entertainment want to consume the media but also taste the flavors of Korea, hence the rise of spicy gochujang, which is now included in everything from dishes to snacks, drinks and desserts,” she said.

Moreover, the stereotype that the American palate is “bland” is a misconception, and this trend proves it, says Varchasvi Singh, foodservice analyst at Mintel.

“There is definitely an increased appetite for spicy food and flavors, driven by a desire to explore unfamiliar ingredients and cuisines,” Singh told CNN. “This craze is not a fad, it is here to stay.”

Lyons Watt said consumers can expect to see more spices in all grocery store aisles. On behalf of TOMBSTONE Pizza

Lyons Watt said consumers can expect to see more spices on all grocery store shelves: frozen foods, beverages, ice cream, chips and so on.

“My motto for a number of years has been 'the hotter the better' because consumers are attracted to that. Traditionally it was younger consumers who drove that, but now we're seeing bold flavours being embraced by most age groups, but the dominance is still with younger consumers,” she said.