“Hot sauce is dead!” That is how Marcus McCauley, a regenerative farmer, chef and founder of Picaflor, Boulder, Colo., started his three-minute pitch this year at the 14th annual Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam. McCauley’s comment was a show stopper and attention-grabbing headline that gets to the core of a growing trend in “live” foods. In and of itself, fermented or probiotic laden foods are not a new trend. Kimchi, kombucha and pickled foods have been hot for some time now. 

But a live hot sauce? 

That is new. 

The interesting and trend-worthy part of Picaflor’s win of this year’s pitch slam is that he is bringing “live and cultured” food to a traditional, shelf-stable category that we normally would not even stop to think about adding nutritional value to. That’s right. We’re talking about that crusty, been-in-your-pantry-forever, tabletop bottle of hot sauce. Bolstered by the fast growth of a booming billion-dollar hot sauce category, McCauley is spot on the trend to move from center store to the outer perimeter. 

“It’s alive… it’s raw… it’s fermented” Marcus calls from the stage. And that requires refrigeration which puts him in the interesting position of being the only hot sauce next to kimchi and sauerkraut. It may not be the shopper’s first place to look for their new hot sauce today, but it likely will be soon. Placement in the refrigerated case clearly tells consumers that the product is fresh, imbues the product with a sense that it will be more robust tasting and that it has value added benefits that they are looking for like gut-healthy probiotics and live cultures.

At first, Picaflor will challenge consumers to change their behavior: they’ll have to reach to the fridge for their hot sauce. Yet they’ve done it before. It was only a few years ago that Perfect Bar moved energy bars from center store to the refrigerated case and look what they’ve done. 

My 2019 trend prediction is that we’ll see more and more food items moving from center store to the perimeter, we’ll see consumers adapt and embrace new behaviors in order to gain the benefits of better for you packaged foods and bold, fresh taste. 

With his 2018 Pitch Slam win and the accompanying $100,000 in support, I suspect we’ll see more of Picaflor Live Culture Hot Sauces at a refrigerated case near you. Want to learn more about Marcus’s Live Culture hot sauces, raw fermented pepper flakes or their 2019 plans for bringing single serve refrigerated hot sauce packets to Foodservice, call Marcus@Picaflor.co or 720-442-3816. 

Originally appeared in the December, 2018 issue of Prepared Foods as Perimeter Play.