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New Research Shows That Kiwis Suffer From ‘spice-xiety’ Despite A Love For Flavour

New Zealand, June 17 2024 – New research released today reveals that while nearly half (49%) of Kiwis love to spice it up in the kitchen, most of us (87%) suffer from a case of ‘spice xiety’ – a fear of venturing outside our comfort zone when cooking with new flavours at home. The findings come as New Zealand’s leading meal kit company announces the launch of the country’s very own Kiwi Spice Blend.

The online study of 650 New Zealanders by HelloFresh was undertaken to gain a deeper understanding of the flavours and spices New Zealanders love as part of the research and development process for the new local seasoning.

The research found that 91% of respondents cook with spices daily. While 67% of respondents have more than five spices in their pantry, 92% admit to using less than five spices when cooking daily.

Those with ‘spice-xiety’ (87%) aren’t sure which of the various spices on offer to use, and lack confidence when cooking with lots of, or new spices.

The new Kiwi Spice Blend will help alleviate ‘spice-xiety’ by providing a ready-made spice blend created specially for the Kiwi palate that gives Kiwis the confidence to venture outside their comfort zone when cooking at home.

Working with Massey University’s Professor Joanne Hort, Fonterra Riddet Chair in Consumer and Sensory Science and HelloFresh’s very own ‘Kiwi Spice Girl’, HelloFresh set out to use the flavours and spices adored by New Zealanders to create a uniquely Kiwi Spice Blend.

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Hort says New Zealand has a diverse palate because the country is a melting pot of cultural influences, which means our favourite flavours are always evolving and changing as new cuisines are introduced to our repertoire. But the various flavours and spices can be confusing and challenging for some Kiwi cooks.

“It’s a case of wanting to explore with spice and flavours, but not knowing where to start. Kiwis have an adventurous palate and are open to trying new cuisines, but many feel unsure about how to unleash the full potential of spices when cooking in their own kitchen.

Recent trends show sweet smoke and smokey barbecue as two of the top savoury flavours in the last five years for New Zealanders. We can see this trend year-round, with slow-cooked smokey casseroles in winter and sizzling barbecues in the summer.”

When asked what flavours Kiwis love the most, respondents answered smokey (53%), sweet (53%) and salty (45%). To cater to these cravings, the HelloFresh team spent months tinkering

to get the right mix of Kiwis favourite flavours for the ‘Kiwi Spice Blend’, which includes ingredients such as smoked paprika, mustard and celery seed.

Until now, New Zealanders have been able to enjoy the ‘Aussie Spice Blend’, but HelloFresh wanted to create a blend that reflects the New Zealand market tastes. Hort says that research has shown Kiwis have different tastes to Australians and are drawn to sweeter flavours, even in savoury meals.

“Our friends across the ditch can’t get enough of that deep, smokey flavour, but Kiwis have a desire for sweetness in our food. Recent trends are showing that for Australians, smokey barbeque flavours are ranking high, where for us, the sweet-meets-smokey combination is currently trending.”

While New Zealanders are split on whether our taste preferences differ drastically from Aussies, with 40% of respondents of the opinion that they do not differ, the overwhelming response was that 82% of Kiwis wanted a spice blend tailored to the identity and flavours of the New Zealand palate.

Hannah Gilbert, Senior Director Product Development at HelloFresh Australia and New Zealand, says developing the Kiwi Spice Blend has been an exciting and collaborative process.

“The Kiwi palate is a melting pot of diverse influences and we wanted to create a blend that truly captures the unique and evolving flavour preferences of New Zealanders.

When developing the Kiwi Spice Blend, we collaborated closely with flavour experts and our HelloFresh Recipe development team, leaving no spice unturned to craft a blend that celebrates the sweet, smokey flavours New Zealanders love.

The all-new Kiwi Spice Blend caters to all taste preferences, profiling key flavours we know Kiwis love. The process has been incredibly rewarding, and we can’t wait for our customers to experience this distinct taste sensation.”

The Kiwi Spice Blend is available in HelloFresh boxes now and will come with Kiwi-spiced recipes including Smokey Kiwi Chicken & Charred Corn Salad, BBQ-Glazed Beef Meatballs, Quick Double Smokey Chicken & Roast Pumpkin Toss and many more.

To order your HelloFresh meal kit and be one of the first to try the Kiwi Spice Blend, head to hellofresh.co.nz.

HelloFresh SE is a global food solutions group and the world's leading meal kit company. The HelloFresh Group consists of six brands that provide customers with high quality food and recipes for different meal occasions. The Company was founded in Berlin in November 2011 and operates in the USA, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, France, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Japan and Ireland. In Q3 2022 HelloFresh delivered 243 million meals and reached 7.5 million active customers. HelloFresh went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2017 and is currently traded on the MDAX (Mid-Cap German Stock Market Index). HelloFresh has offices in Berlin, Saarbrücken, New York, Chicago, Boulder, London, Amsterdam, Sydney, Toronto, Auckland, Paris, Copenhagen, Milan, Tokyo and Dublin.

About the research

HelloFresh engaged Stickybeak to undertake research into New Zealanders’ opinions on the key flavours Kiwis love. The research was conducted on the Stickybeak online platform.

The survey is comprised of 650 members of the general public. The data is nationally representative by age and gender with boosted samples in key metropolitan cities. The research was undertaken between Friday 31 May and Monday 3 June 2024.

Summary of research findings

The research found that:

91% of Kiwis cook with spices

87% of Kiwis suffer from ‘spice-xiety’ because they aren’t sure which of the various spices on offer to use, and lack confidence when cooking with lots of, or new spices 67% of Kiwis have more than five spices in their pantry. In contrast, 33% have five or less

92% of Kiwis use up to four spices on a daily basis when cooking dinner. In contract, only 7% of Kiwis use more than five spices when cooking a meal

49% of Kiwis feel they have a medium to high spice tolerance. In contrast, only 4% of respondents admitted they have no spice tolerance

When asked what the top three tastes and flavours that Kiwis love the most, respondents said Smokey (53%), Sweet (53%) and Salty (45%)

60% of respondents feel New Zealanders have their own distinctive flavour of cuisine in comparison to Australians, with 82% admitting they’d like to see a Kiwi spice blend tailored to the flavours of the New Zealand palate

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