ChilliBOM has conducted the first ever publicly available Australian Hot Sauce Survey uncovering the hot sauce habits of the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic. Hot Sauce is hot stuff right now and Aussies are exploring more than ever in the world of hot sauce wanting to experiment with flavour and heat levels.
- Five million Australian Adults eat hot sauce EVERY WEEK, which we've dubbed as the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic, and just over half a million Australians Adults eat hot Sauce EVERYDAY.
- Majority of Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics are men. But only just, with 59% MEN and 41% WOMEN and just over half (54%) are aged between 25 to 49 years old.
- Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics prefer the name HOT SAUCE. With 59% choosing HOT SAUCE over CHILLI SAUCE (40%) and PEPPER SAUCE (1%) when describing this glorious spicy substance.
- Most hot sauce is enjoyed at dinner with a burger. 82% of Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics enjoy hot sauce mostly with dinner and Burgers, Fried Chicken and Mexican are the most popular foods to enjoy it with
- Over half of Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics have experienced the 'Ring of Fire'. When it comes to physical reactions to hot sauce the usual suspects like a burning mouth, burning lips and sweating top the list for Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics but over half have suffered the dreaded 'ring of fire' and an unfortunate few have suffered extreme reactions like nausea and vomiting with some landing in hospital.
- Dairy is the product of choice to quench the burn. Most of our Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics are smart cookies with 50% reaching for dairy products to help quench the fire of hot sauce when the burn gets too much to handle.
- Hot sauce is always on hand. The majority of hot sauce fanatics always have at least one bottle of hot sauce on the table during a meal (71%) and will ask for it when eating out (55%).
Introducing the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic
Close to seventy percent of Australian adults have eaten hot sauce in the last 12 months representing 13 Million Aussies. Just under half of these hot sauce consumers are eating hot sauce on a regular basis with 5 million Australian adults eating hot sauce at least once a week or more often. We've dubbed these amazing individuals the "AUSSIE HOT SAUCE FANATIC". We then have some absolute HOT SAUCE OBSESSIVES out there eating hot sauce every day with 550 thousand adults falling into this bucket.
And when it comes to enjoying hot sauce our Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics are well represented across both men (59%) and women (41%).
Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics are mostly aged between 35 to 49 years old at 29% which is over represented versus the Australian population where they only represent just 20%*.
When it comes to where our Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics live, NSW and Victoria have the highest absolute percentages which is line with having the highest populations across all states and territories. But South Australian Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics are over-represented versus the state population with 13% of all Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics coming from SA when they only represent 7% of the total Australian population*. And it stands to reason that if some states are over represented then there will have to be others that are under-represented and they are New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.
Hot Sauce aka Chilli Sauce aka Pepper Sauce
One of the debates we had to clear up first was what we actually call the stuff we love to eat; is it chilli sauce, hot sauce or pepper sauce? Well the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic has spoken and the winner is HOT SAUCE with 59% preferring this name over chilli sauce (40%) and pepper sauce (1%). We are sure this won't settle the debate once and for all but at least now we have some numbers to back us up.
Hot Sauce Eating Habits
Now we say that the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic eats hot sauce at least once a week, but most are even more fanatical than that, with the majority eating hot sauce multiple times a week and then a good proportion eating at least once or multiple times a day. And the true champions (or obsessives) are the 12% of Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics who are eating hot sauce with every meal!
It is probably no surprise that 82% of the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics are eating hot sauce most often with their dinner, with a much lower proportion eating hot sauce mainly with breakfast or lunch.
When it comes to what Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics are eating hot sauce with Burgers tops the list followed by Fried Chicken, Mexican, Steak and Stir Fry to round out the top 5.
Can you handle the heat?
When it comes to how hot our Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics can handle their hot sauce, 43% are most often eating hot sauces that they rate as "HOT" or a 6 to 7 out of 10 on the heat scale. 15% of Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics are extremely brave and opt for the EXTREME 10 out 10 hot sauces on a regular basis.
If you love your hot sauce then you are willing every now and again to test your limits and this sometimes comes with consequences. When we asked what reactions the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic has endured when eating their hot sauce, the list was quite long. It goes without saying that virtually all Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics have suffered the Burning Mouth (95%) with Mild Sweating (82%) and Burning Lips (80%) also high on the list.
But over half (55%) of our Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics have suffered the dreaded 'Ring of Fire'. For those of you that have experienced this then you know exactly what we are referring to, for those that haven't, well lets say its not a reaction you get from the hot sauce when you eat it, but one you suffer the following day when the hot sauce makes its way out the other end!
For those of us who have taken the ultimate challenge and eaten the most extreme of hot sauces then we have experienced nausea and vomiting with some even having to be hospitalised, but fortunately it is only limited to less than 5% of Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics.
And then there are the super heroes out there who have no physical reactions at all, representing 3% of Aussie Hot Sauce fanatics, we say you probably need to try harder!
So, when the mouth and lips are burning, the eyes are watering, your face is red, and you have snot streaming out of your nose what food or drink do Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics choose to quench that fire? Well 50% of us very smartly choose the heat quenching properties of dairy in the form of milk (34%), yoghurt (12%) or sour cream (3%). While it is not a miracle solution for those super extreme hot sauce is does have the best chance because the protein in dairy breaks the bond that capsaicin (the heat-inducing chemical in chilli) creates with our pain receptors. See the 66 Fascinating Facts about Hot Sauce for more details.
Again there are a small percentage of us who are brave (or maybe just unprepared) that just ride it out (4%) and embrace the burn.
But it still seems that the natural reaction to fire is to put it out with water and 15% of Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics still rely on it. But we are here to remind you that water and capsaicin (an oil) don't mix! So reach for something else and... ummm...we have to tell you as well that alcohol doesn't really work either, if anything it makes it worse, so the 13% reaching for beer...better switch to something else!
The best chilli for Hot Sauce
We asked our Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatics what chilli is best when making hot sauce. Now we didn't want to bore everyone so we kept the list short and included Habanero, Ghost Peppers, Carolina Reapers, Scorpion Chillies, Jalapeño, Birdseye and Cayenne and according to the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic, Habanero rates as the best chilli for making hot sauce. But as one Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic too another we ain't that fussy as all chillies we tested rated pretty high on the list! They just love their hot sauce no matter what chilli is used.
A fanatic for Hot Sauce
If you're a hot sauce fanatic, hot sauce is your condiment of choice you're always looking for something new to try and it is usually close at hand when food is served, even when you are eating out. You generally don't limit yourself to certain types of foods either, hot sauce can go on just about anything.
While the heat is one of the key reasons you love hot sauce so much, flavour does come first and it is not always about who can eat the hottest hot sauce.
There you have it the breakdown of the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic, would you classify yourself as an Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic? Could you see some of your hot sauce habits in the results?
A special thanks goes out to every one that supported the 2018 Australian Hot Sauce survey, without you this would not have been possible.
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ChilliBOM is the premier hot sauce club of Australia. ChilliBOM is made for the Aussie Hot Sauce Fanatic sourcing hot sauces from the hottest places on Earth and sending it to you once every 3 months. Join today via the website and Feed Your Inner Dragon.
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All data was collected in October and November 2018
*ABS Census data