According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), lesser-known ethnic fare has experienced a robust product growth in the consumer marketplace. 

In 2010 alone, Mintel’s GNPD tracked a 150 percent increase from 2009 in new food items that contained “Caribbean” in the product description. “Japanese” product launches soared more than 230 percent from 2009-2010. Meanwhile, “Thai” product launches saw a 68 percent increase from 2009-2010.

“Italian, Mexican and Asian cuisine are the more mainstream, popular ethnic cuisines,” said David Lockwood, senior analyst at Mintel. “But Thai, Caribbean and Japanese foods are seeing healthy growth, and consumers seem to be getting more comfortable with a wider variety of ethnic flavors.”

The increase in product launches may be due to the wide variety of outlets consumers have at their disposal to learn more about foods that aren’t common to their ethnic background. In fact, 26 percent of ethnic food-lovers say they were introduced to the cuisine by TV programs, newspapers or magazines that feature cuisine from other countries.

  • Twenty-three percent of ethnic food users said they tried the items after cookbook recipes that included ethnic dishes;
  • 18 percent developed a taste for ethnic fare after travelling abroad and; 
  • 25 percent said they were introduced to their favorite ethnic cuisine because they live in a diverse neighborhood.

 

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