‘Snap! Crackle! and… Hot?’

‘Snap! Crackle! and… Hot?’

Chilli oil - the hottest condiment for your shelves right now

The 2020 pandemic was a time of change and with that: trends. However, one such trend that perhaps wasn’t to be expected in the midst of a global pandemic was chilli oil.

Social media creators capitalised on the country’s boredom and recipe videos became a newfound source of inspiration for people stuck at home with not a whole lot to do. These videos were opportunities to bring lesser known cuisines and foods into the spotlight- often encouraging people to even turn their own hands to making them. And chilli oil was no exception.

Domestic kitchens became scenes where sizzling potions comprising different oils, chillies, and flavourings were experimented with. Now, customers are looking for great tasting and reliable shop-bought alternatives to their own homemade concoctions.

So where did this fiery condiment come from and why is it a year-round, must-have staple on your shelves?

Chilli oil, in its most original form, dates back far further than the days of face masks and social distancing. In fact, it’s as old as the ancient dynasties of China.

Many cuisines and cultures have their own forms and favourites. You wouldn’t be pushed to find at least one version of this popular condiment in almost every corner of the globe.

Taking a dive into the different types, flavours and textures that are on offer, it becomes clear that no two can ever really be the same.

Chinese Chilli Oil

In recent years, ‘Chinese chilli crisp’ has become a staple household condiment for food fanatics. No avocado toast is complete without it!

The characterising feature of a Chinese chilli oil is its versatility. They are traditionally used as both a condiment and an ingredient, using aromatics such as chilli flakes, onion and garlic, to give them that familiar Chinese flavour. Dunk your dumplings, or add them to sauces and curries to give dishes an elevated Asian flavour profile.

For customers who are new to the chilli oil game, a Chinese chilli oil is a reliable and safe option to dip their toes (or spoons!) into.
Add a couple of Yep Kitchen jars to your shelf for oils that represent traditional Sichuan cooking. These oils are characterised by Erjingtiao chillis and Sichuan peppercorns which give them that deep red colour and fragrance that is characteristic of South-Western Chinese cuisine.

Similarly, the My Neighbours the Dumplings sauces epitomise that homemade, comfort style of cooking. Born out of a family-run business that began in East London, these sauces are an easy way in for those who perhaps never quite perfected their own homemade chilli oils!

Stock alongside your other condiments and jars- chilli oil is recognised enough such that these will be easy pick-up products for customers.

Japanese Chilli Oil

Hopping over to Japan, chilli oils that are found in this part of the world are typically slightly milder but no less lacking in flavour.

Japanese chilli oils are predominantly designed as an accompaniment to ramen, but again, are celebrated for their versatility.

Display them amongst your cooking ‘ingredients’ (noodles, rice, soy sauces etc,) to encourage customers to add something new to their favourite dish. Placing them in different parts of the shop will suggest and encourage different uses.

Likening more to a ‘chilli crisp’ than a ‘chilli oil’, Japanese chilli oils have a higher ratio of ‘bits’, resulting in a crunchier, denser condiment. They’re fab for not only adding complex flavour but also texture.
White Mausu do just this: they draw on a modern form of Japanese chilli oil known as taberu rayu to create sauces that are less ‘spicy hot’, and contain a higher ratio of crunchy goodness in the form of nuts, seeds, beans and chilli flakes.

While the term ‘rayu’ might sound a little intimidating, mention it alongside eggs, avocado, noodles and rice and your customers will be running away with ideas for how to use these completely addictive sauces.

For your ramen-loving customers, Tonkotsu’s ‘Eat The Bits Chilli Oils’ are a great option. They have bottled these moreish sauces which accompany their famous pork-broth ramen that is served up in their restaurants. Slightly smokier in flavour, they’re also great over pasta and pizza and offer a great excuse to fuse cuisines.

Filipino Chilli Oil

Filipino food is perhaps one of the lesser known of all the South East Asian countries.

It pulls on a huge number of influences: from Chinese, American and Spanish cuisines, to name a few. The synthesis of these cultures and flavours results in a cuisine that is uniquely its own, yet has some of those familiar Western elements.

Mention ‘ketchup’, ‘adobo’ and ‘marmalade’ and you’ll have customers instantly tuned in!

Roni B’s Kitchen uses family recipes and traditional South-East Asian ingredients to produce a range of Filipino, pastes, sauces and chilli oils.

Their garlic chilli oil is a nod to Roni’s Chinese heritage and most similar to a chiu chow chilli oil. And for a serious umami kick, their black bean chilli oil showcases salted black beans, chilli and soy to form an incredibly addictive condiment which complements a multitude of dishes.

While still technically under the umbrella of ‘chilli oil’ they offer a completely different flavour profile and are a great option for your slightly more experimental customers.
So why stock more than one?

Chilli oil is increasingly on people’s radars. Customers may have had a go at making it themselves but are now looking for that flavour and quality that can only be found in expertly-made products.

Customers will love having a couple of brands to compare. Once they grasp how versatile they are, and how they lend themselves to different uses- you’re guaranteed to get those repeat purchases and increased basket spend.

Get on board with the craze. Stock your faves. But also don’t be afraid to shake up your offering!

Get in touch for samples if you’re keen to try our range and see the differences for yourselves!