Food Trends

Calling all chileheads: NYC hot sauce expo is here

Steve Seabury and Johnny McLoughlin on the NYC Hot Sauce Expo. Plus - can Diana Falzone take on the hot sauce challenge?


Get ready to blow your mind and your taste buds.

Food purveyors are gathering in the Big Apple for one of the hottest tickets in town:  The New York City Hot Sauce Expo in at the Brooklyn Expo Center. 

Some 50 or so vendors will be serving up their version of the spicy condiment. 

But it's way more than Sriracha. From the merely spicy to super fiery, hundreds of chile concoctions will make a showing, including Heartbreaking Dawn's FERVOR, made with the Carolina Reaper, named in 2013 as the hottest pepper on the planet by the Guinness Book of World Records. 

How seriously hot is it?  Well, it just about knocked the socks off of our reporter Diana Falzone.

Just as hot as the sauces are, so too is the demand for them. Reuters reports that the U.S. hot sauce market has grown to $607 million from $228 million in 2000, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. Revenues from hot sauce sales could swell to $1.3 billion by 2019, according to researcher IBISWorld.

The question remains why do people indulge in this self inflicted pain?

"People come to like a wide variety of innately negative experiences: the burn of chili pepper in the mouth, the bitterness of coffee, the fear from riding on a roller coaster," said Paul Rozin, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania told Reuters. "Such benign masochism is widespread in humans, and we really don't know how that process operates."

Check it out, if you're brave enough. And don't worry, there will be emergency personnel standing by.