Instacart Reveals America’s Favorite Hot Sauce

This bottle is the top sauce in a staggering 31 states.

January 18, 2022


Photo by: Michelle Arnold / EyeEm/Getty

Michelle Arnold / EyeEm/Getty

Some like it hot. Count most Americans among them.

In anticipation of National Hot Sauce Day, on January 22, Instacart has crunched the numbers on purchases made on its platform as well as data gleaned from an online survey conducted with The Harris Poll.

Turns out Americans really love their hot sauce.

According to the Instacart-Harris Poll survey, 74 percent of Americans like to put hot sauce on their food — and 45 percent of those said they do so once a week or more. Most (81 percent) of hot sauce eaters primarily add it to foods at dinner; only 24 percent of them did so at breakfast.

And while most people prefer to put hot sauce on expected foods, like tacos

(66 percent), burritos (60 percent) and meat (57 percent), some people do the unexpected and dash it on chips (30 percent), popcorn (17 percent) and even ice cream (8 percent)!

More than half — 59 percent — of those who enjoy hot sauce like it to bring the heat, with 46 percent opting for “regular hot” hot sauce and 14 percent preferring “as hot as it gets.”

An impressive 67 percent of those who use hot sauce say they are “passionate” about their favorite brand.

So which brands are reaping the benefits of Americans’ fierce brand loyalty? Instacart says the top hot sauce in a staggering 31 states — including most of the West and South — is Huy Fong Sriracha (the red sauce in the rooster-sporting green-topped bottles), followed, distantly, by Frank’s RedHot, preferred by the residents of 14 states, mostly concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast.

Brands beloved by a single state include Texas Pete (No. 1 in the Carolinas), Original Louisiana (tops in Mississippi), Village Hot Sauce (a North Dakota brand that ranks highest in that state), Bueno (New Mexico’s locally made favorite) and Burman’s (they love it in Iowa).

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Instacart

Photo courtesy of Instacart

Though they didn’t rank highest in any state, favorite hot sauce brands nationwide, based on Instacart sales by weight, also include Cholula (which followed Huy Fong Sriracha and Frank’s RedHot to make the Top 10 list at No. 3), Tapatio (ranking No. 5, just after Burman’s), Tabasco (No. 6), Heinz (No. 8, following Texas Pete) and Valentina (No. 10, following Louisiana).

And speaking of hot-sauce-love geography, the five states in which people buy the most hot sauce, according to Instacart, are North Dakota, New Mexico, Colorado, California and North Carolina. Conversely, the five states in which residents buy the least hot sauce are Hawaii, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Rhode Island.

Even if hot sauce eaters tend to have a favorite brand, they still like to mix things up and experiment. More than two-thirds — 68 percent — of them report currently having two or more different brands of hot sauce in their kitchens, and 80 percent say the kind of hot sauce they use depends on the food they’re putting it on. What’s more, 83 percent of hot sauce fans say they’re open to trying new or different hot sauce brands.

Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart’s Trends Expert, says this willingness to experiment is definitely on trend.

“Over the past year, we've noticed that hot sauce enthusiasts are reaching for newer brands like Maya Kaimal and Truff, which top the list for Instacart’s fastest-growing hot sauce brands,” Romaniuk said in a statement. “These newer brands are likely gaining traction among hot sauce enthusiasts because they offer up unique flavor profiles that also pack a punch, incorporating everything from truffles to traditional Indian spices. With many hot sauce lovers willing to go to Scoville extremes, it’s no surprise they’re also branching out and becoming more adventurous when it comes to discovering new flavor options.”

Curiously, February, with its big-football-game-day grazing, tends to be when hot sauce sales see the biggest surge. So even if you miss National Hot Sauce Day, there’s still plenty of time to celebrate by dousing your food with a splash of heat.

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