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Taste of home: the growth in ethnic food

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Taste of home: the growth in ethnic food

In a globalised world, cultural and ethnic boundaries are becoming more permeable, creating a new multicultural way of eating.

Ethnic food can be defined as an ethnic group’s or a country’s cuisine that is culturally and socially accepted by consumers outside of the respective ethnic group, according to The Journal of Ethnic Foods

The European market for ethnic foods continues to be dominated by traditional favorites such as Indian, Chinese, Mexican and Thai. However, the category is rapidly expanding and welcomes the emergence of cuisines such as Japanese, African, Caribbean and Latin American.

Mintel forecasts the ethnic cuisine market (defined as cuisines outside Europe, Russia, Australasia and North America) to be worth £4.8 billion by 2019, up from £4.2 billion as it currently stands, whilst Keynote forecasts the UK market for ethnic foods to grow 14.8% between 2014 and 2018.

An adventurous consumer base is the key to growth in the ethnic foods category. Consumers are constantly on the lookout for a new flavour or taste and do this by experimenting with new global cuisines; this is especially apparent in market sectors such as ready meals, sauces and snack foods.

Authenticity is another key driver in the market according to FoodBev Media.  Consumers are increasingly well travelled and are keen to find the authentic foods that they experienced on their journeys. What’s more, with populations ever more multicultural, new exciting recipes and flavours are making their way around the world and delivering food in a genuine and authentic way.

Consumers want to experience diverse dishes whether in a restaurant, takeaway or to recreate them at home. Cultural food trends have also been further influenced by street foods which create ‘real’ food experiences.

According to leading fresh food manufacturer, Bakkavor, “The future of ethnic ready meals is about creating an overall dining experience in your home that mirrors the out-of-home experience”.

What we eat can be a very personal and powerful act, it can demonstrate a side of us to others. If consumers want to show that they are open to new cultures and traditions, food is an effective way of doing this.

Consumers eat for pleasure rather than survival, therefore they want to consume foods that have a story behind them, especially when they are good for your health, according to The Journal of Ethnic Foods.

Another driving factor for the market is the ethnographic process that can occur when travelling or living in other countries. Food is a way of reinforcing a sense of identity when in a different culture. Sometimes people want to eat what they are accustomed to eat at home. For example, the English seeking fish and chips in Spain, Indians looking for curry in Wales and Japanese in search of sushi in Italy. More and more nationalities are establishing themselves in Europe, creating a sea of diversity especially when it comes to food.

Europe and other continents have seen a growth in ethnic supermarkets. According to Heuschen & Schrouff Oriental Foods Trading BV, up to 60% of a typical Asian supermarket’s customers in Western Europe are not Asians, but local Europeans.

LINPAC manufactures a range of party packs, ideal for a variety of ethnic foods, especially snacks or finger foods such as samosas, kebabs, olives and hummus. The party packs come in three different sizes apportioned in diverse ways, the divided hinged containers are made from rPET which is super cleaned in-house to ensure food safety.

LINPAC also offers a range of rPET party pack platters which provide a perfect complete meal solution due to the compartmental design or as a sharing platter for nibbles with friends.

By opening our mouths to each other’s foods, it is a step towards opening our minds to each other’s cultures. 

To find out more about the range of packging LINPAC has to offer visit the Prepared Chilled Food pages.

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