Why do we need spicy Starburst, Skittles and soda?

Snackers want sugar and spice.

The candy counter is heating things up this summer, with both Skittles and Starburst revealing fiery new versions of its fruity snacks.

Wrigley introduced Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst at the Sweets & Snacks Expo this week. The five new Skittles flavors include Fiery Watermelon, Blazin’ Mango, Flamin’ Orange, Sizzlin’ Strawberry and Lemon Spark, while Starburst introduces Fiery Watermelon, Strawberry Mango, Flamin’ Orange and Pipin’ Pineapple. Both will be available for starting at 99 cents this December.

Wrigley introduced spicy “Sweet Heat” Skittles and Starburst flavors this week. (Wrigley Jr.)

Sour candy is so last season, according to the tastemasters at the Sweets & Snacks Expo. Vivra Chocolate also introduced a Curry Cashew chocolate bar, while Little Bird Kitchen cooked up Fire Bites and Fire Bark by stirring candied jalapenos into dark, milk and white chocolate.

The spice trend has already taken over savory snacks, with sriracha getting put in everything from ketchup to McDonald’s Big Macs and Burger King’s Angriest Whoppers.

“From flavors like honey sriracha to mango chipotle, confectioners and snack manufacturers both are increasingly turning to sweet to balance out hot, spicy or tangy flavors,” Susan Whiteside from the National Confectioners Association told Food Business News. “We’ve certainly seen some of that in the candy industry before with Red Hots and Atomic Fireball, but this is taking those flavors to the next level and really experimenting with different heat sources as well as different sweet sources.”

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And you can wash those spicy sweets down with Pepsi Fire, a new limited-edition soft drink flavor that laces the soda with cinnamon. It’s been rolled out across the country, and select 7-Eleven stores also feature Pepsi Fire Slurpees.

Pepsi launched the cinnamon-flavored cola, Pepsi Fire. (PRNewsfoto/PepsiCo)

Analysts say consumers want something to shake up their treats, and peppering them with some added heat satisfies that craving.

“Young adults, Gen Zs and Millennials like to experiment with ethnic and exotic flavors, and we’re seeing them influence trends this way across food and beverage categories,” NPD Group’s Darren Seifer, a food and beverage industry analyst, told Moneyish. “The growing ethnic populations in the U.S. who use savory spices as part of their cooking cultures are influencing the tastes of U.S. consumers in general. And then there is, of course, the ‘new’ factor; Americans love a new twist on a classic snack to shake things up.”

“They look for stuff that is maybe a bit more on the edge but also classic,” agreed Jessica Jones-Dille of MANE Inc., a flavor and fragrance manufacturer, in an interview. “Spicy foods are coveted for flavor interest and what I call ‘extreme social engagement.’”

Because you’ve got to share pics and video of yourself braving these fiery snacks online.

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“As we worked on a pepper platform, people in the lab wanted to taste these hot peppers and then of course wanted us to video it to share with all their friends,” said Jones-Dille.

View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-do-we-need-spicy-starburst-skittles-and-soda-2017-05-26-11883153

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