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Established World Cuisines - UK - February 2015

“The improving consumer confidence suggests both the need and opportunities for premiumisation in the retail channel. The strong interest in a wider offering of chilled cooking sauces among ethnic food buyers highlights this as a potential key area. The ingredients segment should also justify further attention as people in higher-income households are the most likely to buy scratch cook ingredients.”

– Douglas Faughnan, Senior Food and Drink Analyst

This report looks at the following issues:

  • Improving household finances drive the need for premiumisation
  • Meal kits and pastes can help Chinese cuisine combat scratch cooking
  • Emerging world cuisines pose a credible threat to established ones

A period of sustained growth between 2009 and 2013 in the market ended in 2014. Scratch cooking has been one of the key contributors to slowing growth. Slowing food inflation also dampened value growth, while falling ad spend has eroded the visibility of the market.

The market also faces a considerable threat from emerging cuisines, with strong consumer interest in for example South American, Vietnamese and Korean foods. However, there also remains robust interest for example in Chinese cooking pastes and bases as well as meal kits, signalling potential for growth for the established cuisines in new product segments.

Meanwhile, consumer spending is expected to gather momentum. As the more affordable option to ethnic restaurants and takeaways, world cuisine sales through retail have benefited from the pressure on consumer incomes over several years. However, this selling point is likely to lose its appeal with growing ‘recession fatigue’, with consumers expected to start to eat out more.

This report focuses on major world foods beyond European and North American foods that have become an established part of the UK retail market. 

The most popular types of ethnic cuisine eaten in the UK, Chinese and Indian, are firmly embedded on British menus, eaten by 78% and 73% of Brits respectively. These are currently enduring a difficult period with falling prices and increased competition from less established ethnic cuisines. However, consumer interest in a wider range of products, such as chilled cooking sauces and ingredients, suggests further growth potential.

Interest in scratch cooking poses a challenge to brands operating in the market, highlighting the need to innovate and provide consumers with the products they need to prepare their favourite ethnic cuisines from scratch at home. More than a quarter of Brits are buying raw ingredients to prepare ethnic sauces and marinades from scratch, with 27% of those that do buying more than they were a year ago.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Forecast
                • Figure 1: Total UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican foods, 2009-19
              • Market factors
                • Companies, brands and innovation
                  • Own-brand continues to dominate much of ethnic foods
                    • Figure 2: Leading brands in the Indian ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments market, by value, 2013 and 2014
                  • Innovation
                    • Brand communication
                      • The consumer
                        • Chinese and Indian food are ingrained on Britons’ menus
                          • Figure 3: Frequency of eating ethnic foods at home in the last three months, by cuisine type, November 2014
                        • Cooking sauces, table sauces and ready meals lead among ethnic food types
                          • Scratch cooking is gaining popularity
                            • A focus on food waste and tuning dishes to taste should resonate
                              • Figure 4: Attitudes towards ethnic food products, November 2014
                            • Meal kits spark interest among ethnic food buyers
                              • Figure 5: Interest in different types of ethnic food products, by cuisine type, November 2014
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                                • Improving household finances drive the need for premiumisation
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Meal kits and pastes can help Chinese cuisine combat scratch cooking
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Emerging world cuisines pose a credible threat to established ones
                                              • The facts
                                                • The implications
                                                • Trend Application

                                                    • Hungry Planet
                                                      • Guiding Choice
                                                        • Survival Skills
                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Tourism is helping to generate interest in world cuisines
                                                              • Figure 6: Average annual growth/decline in number of visits by UK tourists to selected countries, 2009-13
                                                            • Scratch cooking is negatively impacting sales of cooking sauces
                                                              • People’s openness to emerging cuisines brings opportunities and challenges
                                                                • Figure 7: Current usage of and interest in world cuisines, by cuisine type, November 2014
                                                              • Budgets remain squeezed but consumer spending is gathering momentum
                                                              • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                • Strengths
                                                                  • Weaknesses
                                                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Specialist spices and seasonings become mainstream
                                                                        • Regional dishes and ingredients can help convey authenticity
                                                                          • Rising NPD in chilled sauces caters to demand for convenient, fresh solutions sees
                                                                              • Figure 8: New launches of cooking sauces, by storage type, UK, Q1 2011-Q4 2014
                                                                            • Ethnic-inspired products offer new twists on established favourites
                                                                              • Tracking emerging flavour trends: From specialist to mainstream
                                                                                • Figure 9: Tracking the emergence of a cuisine from niche to mainstream, Mexican
                                                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • 2014 saw value sales decline for the first time in six years
                                                                                  • Figure 10: Total UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican foods, 2009-19
                                                                                  • Figure 11: UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican foods, by format, 2009-19
                                                                                • Forecast
                                                                                  • Figure 12: Total UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican foods, 2009-19
                                                                                  • Figure 13: UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican ready meals, 2009-19
                                                                                  • Figure 14: UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican cooking sauces, 2009-19
                                                                                  • Figure 15: UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican accompaniments, 2009-19
                                                                                • Forecast methodology
                                                                                • Segment Performance

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Indian and Chinese coming under pressure from emerging cuisines
                                                                                      • Figure 16: UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican foods, by cuisine type and format, 2012-14
                                                                                    • Ready meals are enduring a difficult period
                                                                                      • Accompaniments go from strength to strength
                                                                                      • Market Share

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • AB World Foods’ investment in advertising helps drive Patak’s forward
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Leading brands in the Indian ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments market, by value, 2012/13 and 2013/14
                                                                                          • Blue Dragon asserts its lead on the Chinese cuisine segment
                                                                                            • Figure 18: Leading brands in the Chinese ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments market, by value, 2012/13 and 2013/14
                                                                                          • Old El Paso retains its lead in Mexican
                                                                                            • Figure 19: Leading brands in the Mexican ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments* market, by value, 2012/13 and 2013/14
                                                                                          • Own-label accounts for more than £8 in every £10 spent on Thai ready meals
                                                                                            • Figure 20: Leading brands in the Thai ready meals market, by value, 2012/13 and 2013/14
                                                                                        • Companies and Products

                                                                                            • AB World Foods
                                                                                              • Company background
                                                                                                • Blue Dragon – Product range and innovation
                                                                                                  • Patak’s – Product range and innovation
                                                                                                    • Levi Roots – Product range and innovation
                                                                                                      • Meena’s – Product range and innovation
                                                                                                        • General Mills
                                                                                                          • Company background
                                                                                                            • Old El Paso – Product range and innovation
                                                                                                              • Brand communication and promotion
                                                                                                                • Premier Foods
                                                                                                                  • Company background
                                                                                                                    • Sharwood’s – Product range and innovation
                                                                                                                      • Loyd Grossman – Product range and innovation
                                                                                                                        • Homepride – Product range and innovation
                                                                                                                          • Mars Foods
                                                                                                                            • Company Background
                                                                                                                              • Product range and innovation
                                                                                                                                • Brand communication and promotion
                                                                                                                                • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Above-the-line advertising falls for the fourth consecutive year
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Total above-the-line advertising expenditure in the UK established world foods market, 2011-14
                                                                                                                                    • Kikkoman contributes to a spike in table sauce advertising
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Share of above-the-line advertising expenditure in the UK established world foods market, by category, 2011-14
                                                                                                                                      • ‘Adventures In’ campaign makes M&S the biggest spender in 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Above-the-line advertising expenditure in the UK established world foods market, by top 10 brands, 2011-14
                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Usage and Buying of Ethnic Foods

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Chinese and Indian remain Brits’ favourite types of world cuisine
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Frequency of eating ethnic foods at home in the last three months, by cuisine type, November 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Mexican and Thai have forged a mainstream role
                                                                                                                                          • Emerging world cuisines continue to play a niche role
                                                                                                                                            • Ethnic cooking sauces are bought by over half of British consumers
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Types of ethnic cuisine products bought in the last three months, November 2014
                                                                                                                                            • One in four buy cooking pastes, meal kits
                                                                                                                                              • Two in five people buy ethnic ready meals
                                                                                                                                                • Scratch cooking gains momentum
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Change in purchasing of ethnic food products in the last three months, November 2014
                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Ethnic Food Products

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Table sauces play a role in tailoring dishes to taste
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Attitudes towards ethnic food products, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Tapping into the green consumer could offer brands a quick win
                                                                                                                                                    • Alternative methods to communicate flavour should resonate
                                                                                                                                                      • Brazilian World Cup had a limited impact on key demographic
                                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Interest in New Products

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Meal kits hold most interest among shoppers
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Interest in different types of ethnic food products, by cuisine type, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Many consumers want to see a wider array of Chinese cooking pastes/bases
                                                                                                                                                            • Sweet goods and desserts hold niche appeal for ethnic food buyers
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Drivers

                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Number of visits abroad by UK tourists, by selected countries, 2009-13
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican foods, best- and worst-case forecast, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: UK retail value sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican ready meals, best- and worst-case forecast, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: UK retail sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican cooking sauces, best- and worst-case forecast, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: UK retail sales of Indian, Chinese and Mexican accompaniments, best- and worst-case forecast, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Total above-the-line advertising expenditure in the UK established world foods market, 2011-14
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Total above-the-line advertising expenditure in the UK established world foods market, by category, 2011-14

                                                                                                                                                            Established World Cuisines - UK - February 2015

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