Spicy foods. You either like them or you don’t.

However, that might not be the case anymore. Companies are now producing products that just might convert a spicy food hater to a lover of all things spicy. These innovative food manufacturers are introducing heat to consumers in a new way by pairing “spicy” with some already familiar snack and menu items.

Part of the market to which manufacturers are adding heat is found in the dairy aisle. One brand doing this is Hot Scream, a spicy ice cream frozen confection. Their flavors sound tame enough—strawberry swirl, ginger swirl, and chocolate swirl—but the ice cream includes heat from a proprietary blend of eight different peppers.

We are also seeing familiar confectionery brands introducing heat to their consumers by adding spicy flavors to already existing products. M&Ms, for example, will release Mexican Jalapeño Peanut M&Ms, a new flavor in 2019 that’s made with real jalapeños. Mars has also introduced a Spicy Snickers bar to its Chinese market. The Spicy Snickers bar gets its heat from Sichuan peppercorn, which is native to the region.

Consumers are also being introduced to heat through craft cocktails, where a common element is peppers. Heat is introduced into cocktails by infusing liquors with peppers such as jalapeños, habaneros, and both red and green chiles. Now you don’t even have to go to a restaurant or bar for the experience of a craft spicy cocktail. W&P makes a single-batch craft cocktail Spicy Margarita Syrup which gets its heat from jalapeños and chile spice.

Fast food chain Chick-fil-A is testing new menu items in select areas, prior to a nationwide rollout, and the focus is on spicy chicken. The new options include a Spicy Chick-n-Strips Biscuit for breakfast, a Grilled Spicy Chicken Deluxe sandwich with cilantro lime sauce, and a Grilled Spicy Deluxe Bundle offered through its catering service. These exclusive dishes reflect the increasing demand from mainstream consumers for a little extra heat with added convenience.

Spicy foods and snacks have been a part of many global cuisines throughout history; but, through product innovation, heat has become more approachable for those who prefer a more conventional palate. If you’re looking for more reasons to tempt your taste buds with something adventurous and fiery, research is showing that these foods might just be beneficial to your health.

We will continue to follow as things heat up in this category, but in the meantime, if spice doesn’t agree with you and you find yourself needing to cool the heat, check out these tips.

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