Ethnic food's huge popularity has created a growing taste for hot and spicy snacks which are starting to gain space in the traditional bagged snacks fixture. Products have increased dramatically in the past year and include mini poppadums and other Indian snacks in five varieties from Patak's and made by Red Mill. They have become a million pound brand and will be extended with an impulse line at the end of the summer. Ethnic food supplier Natco says sales of its gram flour, the main ingredient for the spicy noodles in Bombay Mix, have increased 23% in the last year due to rising demand for this product. It has recently added spicy poppadums in four flavours packed in tubes to its range which includes spicy cashews and mixed nuts. Further snacks are under development. The Cofresh brand, distributed by Churchill Foods, has just added two new spicy variants, Mint Chutney Crinkles and Hot & Spicy Crinkles, to its potato crisp range. Churchill md Peter Churchill says the multiples have started to take up ethnic snacks in the last two years and the company has distribution in Sainsbury, Somerfield, Asda, Kwik Save and Safeway. "Ethnic snacks are starting to move from niche to mainstream," he says. Rice based snacks are starting to grow in popularity as an exotic alternative to traditional potato or wheat based products, according to Blue Dragon. It has just extended its range of crackers with a rice & peanut variety which comes in a re-sealable metal tube. It is also launching Snack N Dip, a combination of its Lightly Salted Rice Crackers with Thai Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce in one product, for launch this summer. Action is also hotting up on the tortillas front with the Enjoy Organic Company's recent move into the sector with chilli and cheese & onion flavours in 150g bags, and Waissel's addition of chili & lime to its US made Los Amigos range of strong American and Mexican flavours. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}