Chilli Guide

Working in partnership is key for us at TRK Food Factory as we want to help buyers and product developers choose the right chilli for the product being developed. Format can also play a key part in this choice as this not only impacts on flavour/colour delivery, but can often save you money.

When choosing chillies, there are many factors that need to be considered. To help, we’ve developed a ‘chilli decision process’.

Price- This can vary from $3 per kg for an entry level S4 Chilli powder (With SHU- 25,000) To $4 per kg of S17 Teja Chilli powder (With SHU-70,000)

The hottest Chilli in India is Bird's eye Chilli (Bhoot Jholakia) with an SHU of 1,25,000 and pricing around $7 per kg powder.

(As per 2020 market)


The general rule is that the hotter the chilli, the higher the price.

This can vary from £2 per kg for an entry level S4 Indian Chilli powder to £76 per kg for French Pimente de Espelette.

The hottest chilli in the world is the Carolina Reaper which currently sells (June 2016 price) at £100 per kg as demand exceeds supply.

When choosing the right chilli, it is key to consider value versus price and format chosen.


The measurement of heat is key when choosing chillies and the most widely accepted method is the Scoville scale.

To ensure consistency, it is key to measure the capsaicin as – being natural products – this can vary e.g. a single plant can have chillies with no heat and one further down can be incredibly hot.


Until the demand for chillies grew due to consumer interest and curiosity, most people thought of chillies being either red or green.

However, there are a range of colours available from around the world from the chocolate brown Bhut Jolokia grown in India to the golden yellow Peruvian Amarillo.

Certain colours have specific flavour profiles:

Red Chillies – Earthy with a deeper taste

Green Chillies – Zesty with a sharp bite

Yellow – Vibrant with a bell pepper flavour

Colour is a great way to broaden consumer appeal, as well as allowing brands to create product differentiation.


When choosing a chilli, the country of origin is key as the taste, colour and heat are influenced by the terroir.

Provenance is also a good way to give a brand or product differentiation versus its competitors.

Part of our prescribing the correct chilli product is based on our experience working with manufacturers worldwide and our traceability giving a guarantee of field to factory.


When choosing chillies, it is key to consider the impact on our senses.

The organoleptic properties of chillies are key due to the sensory responses they give in terms of taste, smell, colour and texture – Chillies really hit our olfactory receptors.


Food Safety is a key consideration for any supplier or food business.

The consumer product landscape has changed significantly as product recalls have doubled over the last 3 years. Between 2012 – 2017 the presence of foreign bodies in food and drink products have jumped by 350%.

Safety is at the heart of our business. The Chilli Doctor has 3 lead auditors visiting BRC and GSFI Certified Suppliers as well as buying chillies from VALID It and Rainforest Alliance suppliers.

Chilli Information