New research shows Kiwis suffer from ‘spice-xiety’ despite a love for flavour

Friday 5 July 2024

While nearly half of Kiwis love to spice it up in the kitchen, 87 per cent suffer from a case of ‘spice-xiety’ – a fear of venturing outside their comfort zone when cooking with new flavours at home.

Last updated: Friday 5 July 2024

The findings come as Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading meal kit company announces the launch of the country’s very own Kiwi Spice Blend.

Working with Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa 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 incorporate the findings from the study to create the unique Kiwi Spice Blend.

The online study involving 650 participants by HelloFresh aimed to understand the flavours and spices loved by New Zealanders, as part of the research and development process for the new local seasoning.

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

Those with ‘spice-xiety’ often struggle to choose from the various available spices and lack confidence when using a wide range or new spices.

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

Professor Hort says New Zealand has a diverse palate, influenced by a variety of cultures, meaning it is continuously evolving as new cuisines are introduced, but the various flavours and spices can be challenging for some Kiwi cooks.

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

Recent trends show sweet smoke and smoky 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 smoky casseroles in winter and sizzling barbecues in the summer.”

When asked about their favourite flavours, respondents answered smoky (53 per cent), sweet (53 per cent) and salty (45 per cent). To cater to these cravings, the HelloFresh team spent months perfecting the blend of Kiwi-favourite flavours for the ‘Kiwi Spice Blend’, including ingredients such as smoked paprika, mustard and celery seed.

While New Zealanders have previously enjoyed the ‘Aussie Spice Blend’, HelloFresh wanted to create a blend that better reflects the tastes of the New Zealand market. Professor Hort says research showed 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, smoky flavour, but Kiwis have a desire for sweetness in our food. Recent trends are showing that for Australians, smoky barbeque flavours are ranking high, where for us, the sweet-meets-smoky combination is currently trending.”

While New Zealanders are split on whether our taste preferences differ drastically from Aussies, with 40 per cent of respondents believing they do not, an overwhelming 82 per cent of Kiwis expressed a desire for a spice blend tailored to New Zealand’s identity and flavour.

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.

“We wanted to create a blend that truly captures the unique and evolving flavour preferences of New Zealanders. We collaborated closely with flavour experts and our HelloFresh Recipe development team, leaving no spice unturned to craft a blend that celebrates the sweet, smoky flavours New Zealanders 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 now available in HelloFresh boxes and will come with Kiwi-spiced recipes such as 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

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