The British aren’t known for their spicy foods. In fact, they’re actually recognized worldwide for having some of the blandest food on the planet.
Yes, yes, they have taken curry under their wings and made it part of their national menu (as a nod to their colonial past), but they’ve mostly dumbed these curries right down. There are exceptions, of course, but most Brits consider anything with a bit of Masala in it to be a curry.
It’s a British Invasion
You see, although Americans haven’t exactly been a chili eating population until recently, we have been making incredible strides over the past few decades. Now, you have to be living under a rock not to notice just how much more spice and heat Americans add to their meals.
We should be the leader in progressing the causes of chili heads around the world. But the red coats are coming – and advancing with magnificent speed.
Okay, their chili festivals and competitive cook-offs are nothing like what you’ll find on American shores. But, five years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find any in the UK. That’s changed. There’s a UK Chili Cook-Off in September and more than half a dozen more events all centered around chilies, spices, hot sauces, and all things fiery.
On the 27th of September, we can expect to hear reports back from London’s Festival of Heat. (And that does sound exciting.) And, it’s not just about festivals either.
The UK Hot Sauce Industry
At the moment, the UK hot sauce industry is worth more than 1.7 million pounds. That’s over 2.6 million US dollars – and there are only 64 million people living under the UK flag.
Tesco, one of the largest grocery retailers in Britain, added the Komodo Dragon pepper to their shelves in the last month. Each individually packaged chili boasts about 1.4 million Scovilles. That’s intense heat – and the sort of thing you just wish you could find at Giant Eagle, right?
Want to know what’s astounding about the British move towards all things hot and spicy? It’s not even on the radar as far as food trends are concerned. Yes, they were also doing gourmet ramen and kimchi. They also had a stint this year with gourmet burgers. And yes, their packaging is also developing and changing (perhaps even a little more rapidly than the American market can claim).
But, food trends and restaurant analysts really haven’t included chili peppers and hot sauces among the growing trends in Britain or the UK. That’s a little stealthier than marching through the American countryside in bright red coats in the middle of a war.
And, it’s something we need to know. One day soon, the Brits could beat us at our own chili head passions. We don’t want that, do we?