2023 Food Trend : Nuanced Heat - Produce Source Partners
Last updated: December 16, 2022

One of the biggest trends of 2022 and going into 2023 for the food industry is “nuanced heat.” Nuanced heat adds an element of heat to food/drinks that previously did not contain this fiery element. It’s not necessarily about just making things hot either. Today’s consumers are intrigued by more than just the level of heat. Their preferences are expanding beyond mild, medium, and hot to more nuanced, pepper-specific flavors like ancho, serrano, and habanero, as well as spicy flavor pairings with sweet and tangy flavors. The consumer is moving beyond traditional flavors and looking for more nuance and local and regional flavorings as well as international fusion flavors. The unique pairings across flavors will peak consumers’ growing interest in nuanced heats. Although classics like jalapeño will keep bringing the heat, we encourage chefs and consumers to explore some up-and-coming pepper flavors to spice things up.


Give these few a try

• Guajillo – One of the most commonly used chiles in Mexican cuisine, guajillo is also often used for harissa North Africa. Guajillo has a unique tangy, berry flavor with a touch of citrus, and earthy notes of green tea and paprika with a mild heat.
• Chile de Arbol – a Mexican hot pepper that can be fresh, dried, or ground into a powder. It is characterized by an intense, bright red color and a heat level between 15,000 and 30,000 on the Scoville scale. This chili pepper is often used in salsas, stir-fries, hot sauces, and soups.
• Poblano – These peppers are dark green, and when fully ripe, the colors become dark red or brown. The flavors are mild, and the Scoville Heat Unit ranges from 1,000 to 2,000. Poblano peppers are usually roasted and peeled
• Ancho chili – Ancho is the dried version of ripe poblano chili peppers. The peppers are dried for preservation purposes, and when ground, they can be used in spice rubs, moles, soups, salsas, and enchilada sauces. In their dried form, the heart-shaped ancho chiles have wrinkled skin and a deep red color, their flavor is smoky, sweet, and reminiscent of plums and raisins, while the heat level ranges from mild to medium.