Tacos with a side of salsa and pico de gallo

Understanding Heat Delivery Differences

A US salsa manufacturer was seeking help to ensure that their products labeled ‘mild,’ ‘medium’ and ‘hot’ were representative of the targeted pungency intensity ranges in their established markets. The manufacturer realized that they did not have the resources to conduct this research. They sent samples of their salsa base and specification ranges for testing to Kalsec. They wanted to understand the heat levels of each of their products, compared to where those heat levels should be.

Sensory Testing

Analytical information determined areas where more or less heat was needed to achieve a specific pungency intensity level. Kalsec dosed the salsa base using ClearCap® Capsicum to achieve the targeted mild, medium and hot levels of pungency. Dosing levels were confirmed by Kalsec analytical scientists before performing a sensory triangle test. For each test, a minimum of 25-30 untrained panelists were presented with three blind coded samples, two identical and one odd. Panelists then tasted each sample and were asked to select the odd sample.

No statistically significant differences were noted at the three levels tested, however it was noted that consumers may be more sensitive to differences in mild salsa pungency than the more pungent levels typical of medium and hot salsa.

Meeting Consumer Expectations

With the help of Kalsec sensory and analytical teams, the salsa manufacturer was able to achieve their specification range with ClearCap® Capsicum to meet consumer expectations. The analytical and sensory testing helped the manufacturer better understand the differences in heat levels for salsa applications and provide a more consistent product.

Contact our experts to learn how Kalsec can help you achieve consistent pungency levels.