ECONOMIC REPORTS

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Americans Hot for Salsa, Green Chilies, Horseradish

DO salsa, green chilies, and horseradish fire you up? A new study by Packaged Facts, a New York-based research firm, says they do for many Americans.

The fiery-foods market, the study reports, grew 9.6 percent last year to reach retail sales of $1 billion. In the three categories of fiery foods: sauces, condiments, and spices grew 6.6 percent in 1994 to reach retail sales of $650 million; processed peppers rose 3.3 percent to reach sales of $310 million; and prepared food jumped a whopping 133 percent for sales of $70 million.

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Similar category growth is projected for this year when the market is estimated to grow 12 percent and reach retail sales of $1.2 billion. Sales of the first and largest category are estimated to grow 8 percent, hitting $700 million; processed-peppers sales will increase 4 percent to reach $325 million; and the prepared-food category sales will soar 85 percent to $130 million.

''Rapid growth in both the Hispanic and Asian population segments, as well as in the Sun Belt states, means an expanding foundation for the fiery foods industry,'' says Joan Young of Packaged Facts. ''Even the advancing age of the US population as a whole portends good news, since older folks, with their less sensitive taste buds and more specific dietary requirements, have a need for tasty foods without fat.''

Few business travelers in delux rooms

IN an attempt to keep costs down, more corporations are reducing employees' expense-account allowances for lodging while traveling.

According to an American Express survey, only 2 percent of companies permit their employees to stay in ''deluxe'' hotel rooms, about 25 percent let them lay their heads on a ''first class'' pillow, while 65 percent specify a ''moderate'' price range.

Moreover, 62 percent of companies tell employees to stay at specific hotels where they have negotiated rates.

Astro-turf sales sprout up

HO says Astro Turf doesn't grow?, asks the maker of the artificial surface for sports arenas and elsewhere.

The division of Southwest Recreational Industries in Leander, Texas, boasts of a sales increase of 31 percent in 1993, 39 percent last year, and a projected 120 percent this year. The latest versions of the synthetic turf include a padding system to protect players from harm.

Chinese expect better living standard

CONSUMER surveys have arrived in China. A survey by SCMR (South China Marketing Research)-Research International in New York finds that more than 4 in 10 consumers in China expect their standard of living to increase in the next 12 months. Moreover, a large majority ''seem predisposed to spend their earnings on Western goods.''

Gephardt proposes middle-class tax cut

A recent tax reform proposal by Rep. Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri would lower the average tax obligation for those earning less than $75,000, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation in Washington. But this tax break for the middle class would be offset by a steep increase in the average burden of those earning more than $200,000, notes analyst Arthur Hall.

The chain saw cuts its way to the top

THE chain saw is the most popular piece of outdoor power equipment after the lawn mower, according to Organic Gardening, a magazine edited in Emmaus, Pa. Most of the 32.6 million owners of chain saws use them to clear branches and small trees from gardens.

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