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Gloucestershire Business News

Some like it hot, but how hot?

Whether you like your chilli with a serious kick or you prefer a much milder taste, a Gloucestershire company has come up with a new way to define just how hot is 'hot'.

Campden BRI has developed a new way to rate the chilli heat of products like ready meals and cooking sauces. The new calibrated method uses the company's highly-trained panel of taste testers to provide retailers and manufacturers with a consistent way to rate their products as mild, medium, hot or very hot.

Ingredients and even the colour and texture of a product will influence the perception of hotness. Campden BRI's method takes these factors into account to provide a consistent and reliable heat rating for food products. Samples are tested in the company's state-of-the-art sensory booths under coloured light, to mask any differences in the colour of the products.

The heat of whole chillies or chilli powder can be more easily tested and given a Scoville heat rating. But when complex products like ready meals and sauces are tested in this way, the results may not correlate with how spicy the food is perceived by the consumer. This could mean that manufacturers are inadvertently providing misleading information to consumers.

Josefine Hammerby, sensory descriptive projects manager at Campden BRI, said: "Many manufacturers display a graphic on a product's packaging, with a number of chillies to show consumers how spicy it will be. However, it can be difficult to get consistent results across a range of products. Our new method gives manufacturers and retailers confidence that they are providing consumers with accurate and consistent information about the chilli strength of their products."

So whether you're a jalapeño lover or you can handle a Carolina reaper, the new method will mean you can really trust that the sauce you're eating is as hot as it says it is.

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