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Spicy food lovers more likely to think they’re hot

Do you love spicy food?

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Dried peppers in a jar. On a stone background. Free space for text .
(Chatham172 via Shutterstock)

If you tend to reach for spicier foods, chances are you lead a spicier life.

That’s according to a new survey of 2,000 American adults which sought to reveal if there are any personality correlations between people who are spicy food enthusiasts.

Spicy food eaters are more likely to enjoy trying new things (76%), consider themselves attractive (62%) and are more content with their lives (66%) than those with milder heat preferences.

Ninety-three percent of respondents prefer some level of heat in their food. Nearly four in 10 (36%) say they go for medium, 33% go for mild and 24% like their spice level set to hot.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Frank’s RedHot, results showed that only 7% of all respondents opt for no heat at all.

Of those who prefer hot foods, 21% consider themselves extroverted, compared to 15% of mild food eaters.

Those who pack on the heat are also more likely to describe themselves as creative (54%), confident (51%) and adventurous (44%).

On the flip side, those who tend to stay on the milder side are more likely to describe themselves as empathetic (41%) and even shy (37%).

Medium heat lovers fall somewhere in the middle, describing themselves as calm (50%) and curious (44%).

While medium heat fans don’t tend to have a preference (31%), mild munchers are slightly more likely to be dog people (47%).

Spicy lovers are also living up to their adventurous nature, as more than three in five (76%) enjoy traveling.

Almost one-third (32%) of spicy food fanatics follow a certain diet like vegan or vegetarian — more than double than no spice fans (13%) and more than any other spice preference.

The average respondent has been eating spicy foods for about nine years, but 66% of hot lovers have been indulging for more than 10 years.

Results suggest that heat preference may be written in the stars with Virgos (12%) being the most likely to enjoy hot foods.

Leos tend to prefer medium spice (11%) and Sagittariuses (11%) opt for no spice at all.

“These results only confirm what we’ve known all along: that people who like spicy foods have a spicy personality too,” said Kevan Vetter, Executive Chef for Frank’s RedHot. “It makes perfect sense that those who take the heat head on are ready to take on anything and everything else. Heat fans go big on both flavor and adventure, and they’re always chasing the spice of life.”

The survey, a panel of 2,000 U.S. adults who celebrate winter holidays, also went beyond personal preferences and asked how respondents are adding some heat to the holidays and their everyday lives.

During the holiday season, medium heat fans consider themselves the best gift givers (56%).

However, hot food fans are most likely to be tasting the food (48%) or “stirring the pot” causing drama or trouble with friends and family (11%).

Sixty-one percent of all respondents are planning to be more adventurous in the coming year.

In the new year, respondents are planning to spend more time with family and friends (54%), focusing on getting more active (45%) and traveling more (37%).

Despite heat preferences, respondents are also planning to mix things up in the kitchen this year, as 45% are planning to cook different recipes and 42% are wanting to try new foods.

More than one-third (35%) of respondents are tired of eating the same things each holiday season.

They expect to see dishes like turkey (75%), mashed potatoes (74%), gravy (64%), green beans (59%) and pumpkin pie (58%) on the table this year.

Interestingly enough, respondents identified potatoes (46%) and meats (41%) as some of the top blandest foods that always require some spicing up.

To amp up flavor, respondents are adding seasoning (44%), mixing unique flavors (39%) and adding different sauces like hot sauce or a marinade (39%).

“It’s no surprise that people are looking to spice up their holiday feasts,” said Chef Kevan. “We eat the same dishes every year, and people are ready for imaginative recipes and new takes on holiday classics. Adding new seasonings and sauces is the perfect antidote to boring food, infusing dishes with bold flavors and a craveable kick in seconds.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 people who celebrate a winter holiday was commissioned by Frank’s RedHot between November 1 and November 7, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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