Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hot Sauce Marketing and the Claim to Pain

Don't Get Burned
Don't let the boasting label fool you. This bottle is full of tasty habanero sauce with a respectable heat and a subtle sweetness. Rich, flavorful and a little chunky, Ring of Fire is a fine light salsa but it's not anything like the conflagration pictured on the label. I use it all of the time and I have yet to belch fire. In fact, the only thing about the sauce that might make anyone feel burned twice is if they were actually intending to belch fire.

What's with the insecurity, Ring of Fire? You produce a great product and you hide it behind a bunch of EXTREME posturing like it's some tongue-blistering nightmare. People like myself, who want more flavor than heat might be put off by your fire belching claims, and the chest thumping "I dare ya" crowd is going to be disappointed by the lack of EXTREME HEAT.

Besides, your ingredients label is a dead giveaway. Chiles don't even appear until ingredient number four.


Ring of Fire also makes me wonder how many other mis-marketed sauces there are around. Whenever I've been to hot sauce stores, stands or web sites all of the packaging screams "this sauce will set your tongue on fire, throw it in a blast furnace and set the blast furnace on fire". I never end up buying anything because I just want a good heat and a flavor that plays well with food, not to hit my tongue with a branding iron. The only reason I even tried RoF is because I had looked at the ingredients list.

Hopefully this trend in hot sauce packaging is ... well, burning out. Who knows how many delicious sauces are hiding out there behind claims of pain. I'm sure that something that more accurately describes the flavor and heat level of the contents would be greatly appreciated by connoisseurs and masochists alike.