Research Proposal

Linking Spices and Chocolate


To identify the link between spices and chocolate.

Early Findings

  • "Adding spice to dessert has several benefits: Studies show that people who eat spicy foods can live longer, and spice can help curb one's appetite and burn calories after a meal."
  • Chili peppers enhance the flavor (heat, pungency, warmth, and bite) as well as the color of prepared foods and play an important role in the food industry today.
  • Consumer preference for foods that incorporate heat has increased significantly.
  • A 2019 Kalsec survey found that "more than 50% of consumers said that they choose spicy options for their meals."
  • 16% of global consumers said that they were extremely likely to try a spicy dessert, while 21% said that they were somewhat likely to try a spicy dessert.
  • 15% of global consumers said they were extremely likely to try a spicy beverage, while 22% said they were somewhat likely to try a spicy beverage.
  • "Globally, consumers are most interested in trying spicy/salty combinations, followed by spicy/sweet and spicy/tangy combinations."

US Consumers and Sweet Heat

  • "A recent survey of U.S. consumers ages 18 and older found that 80% of consumers now enjoy hot and spicy foods."
  • "Consumers in the Americas are most interested in trying new spicy flavors; including sriracha, black pepper, curry, horseradish, Szechuan, wasabi, berbere, sambal, harissa, and gochujang."
  • Jalapeno, cayenne, and chipotle were among the US consumer's preferred pepper sources.
  • "Two-thirds of U.S. consumers continued to show interest in a spicy and sweet flavor combination along with one-half being interested in a sweet and tangy experience."
  • "Sweet heat refers to sweet and spicy traits that pair well together for a unique flavor combination. Examples of sweet heat include sriracha and caramel, chocolate and cayenne, ghost pepper and barbecue, and honey and chilies".
  • In 2018, candy and chocolate companies innovated and incorporated more "sweet heat" flavor profiles for some products. Mars, for example, introduced spicy Skittles Sweet Heat and Starburst Sweet Heat.


  • For this hour, we tried identifying insights or trends that would link spices and chocolate. We were mainly able to identify insights on spicy food trends, but we also found some links to dessert and beverage consumption as well as links to the "sweet heat" flavor profile, where spiced chocolate appears to fit in.
  • Additional insights linking chocolate and spice did not immediately appear available.
  • In the course of our research, we came across more general trends on chocolate in the US, as well as insights on opportunities in the hot and spicy food trend, which might also be of interest.
  • Feel free to add or select an option below.
Prepared By
Mik W.
510 assignments | 5.0