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UK Ethnic Food Market - September 2012

The UK ethnic food market benefits from strong demand as six in ten adults enjoy eating foreign food and 44% of users are continually looking for new and interesting ethnic foods. A variety of factors have supported the interest, including an increasingly multicultural Britain, growth in international travel, visibility of new cuisine types in the foodservice and media and wider choice in-store.

How is the UK ethnic food market performing?

The overall ethnic foods market recorded a 24% increase in value sales between 2007 and 2011 to reach £1.4 billion, having grown by a solid 6.6% in 2011. Ready meals are fuelling the growth, supported by increased NPD and improved offerings from supermarket own-label, with Indian remaining the largest segment in the market, ahead of Chinese.
Some questions answered about the UK ethnic food market include:

  • Which emerging ethnic cuisines are consumers most keen to see more of in-store?
  • What NPD areas can manufacturers explore to engage the growing over-65s population?
  • To what extent is growth in ethnic foods being squeezed by scratch cooking?
  • Which consumer groups are the early adopters in ethnic foods?

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Ready meals drive overall growth in ethnic foods
              • Figure 1: Total UK retail value sales of ethnic foods, 2007-17
              • Figure 2: UK retail value sales of ethnic foods, by cuisine, 2007-12
              • Figure 3: UK retail value sales of ethnic foods, by format, 2007-17
            • Market factors
              • Six in ten Britons enjoy eating foreign foods
                • UK’s ethnic population grows
                  • Ethnic restaurant and takeaway sectors struggle to compete with the in-home market’s low prices
                    • Ageing population poses a challenge for the ethnic foods market
                      • Companies, brands and innovation
                        • NPD levels continue to decline
                          • Figure 4: Share of new ethnic food products in selected food categories*, 2008-11
                        • AB World Foods brands extend market share
                          • Figure 5: Estimated brand shares in value sales of ethnic cooking sauces, 2011
                        • Total adspend dips
                          • The consumer
                            • Chinese is the most typically eaten ethnic food and there is strong interest in South American and Vietnamese
                              • Figure 6: Types of ethnic foods eaten, June 2012
                            • Authenticity, clear cooking instructions and special offers are the most important choice factors
                              • Positively, more than two fifths of users are always on the lookout for new ethnic foods
                                • Figure 7: Attitudes towards buying ethnic foods, June 2012
                              • Opportunity for child-friendly ethnic food
                                • Figure 8: Attitudes towards eating ethnic foods, June 2012
                              • What we think
                              • Issues in the Market

                                  • Which emerging ethnic cuisines are consumers most keen to see more of in-store?
                                    • What NPD areas can manufacturers explore to engage the growing over-65s population?
                                      • To what extent is growth in ethnic foods being squeezed by scratch cooking?
                                        • Which consumer groups are the early adopters in ethnic foods?
                                        • Trend Application

                                            • Trend: Agelessness
                                              • Trend: Hungry Planet
                                                • 2015 Trend – East Meets West
                                                • Market Environment

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • Six in ten adults enjoy eating foreign foods
                                                      • Figure 9: Agreement with the statement ‘I enjoy eating foreign food, by age and socio-economic group, 2012
                                                    • 2012 Census reveals dramatic increases in ethnic mix
                                                      • The major grocers throw their weight behind ethnic food
                                                        • Rice prices remain volatile
                                                          • Recession returns
                                                          • Competitive Context

                                                            • Key point
                                                              • Ethnic restaurant and takeaway sectors struggle to compete with the in-home market’s low prices
                                                                • Figure 10: UK ethnic restaurant/takeaway market, 2006-11
                                                            • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                              • Strengths
                                                                • Weaknesses
                                                                • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Share of ethnic food in wider food NPD continues to fall although 2012 should see a revival
                                                                      • Figure 11: Share of new ethnic food products in selected food categories*, 2008-11
                                                                    • Prepared meals record highest level of NPD in 2011
                                                                      • Figure 12: Share of new ethnic food products, by format, 2008-11
                                                                    • Asda and Morrisons ramp up NPD
                                                                      • Figure 13: Share of private label in new ethnic food products, 2008-11
                                                                      • Figure 14: Share of new product launches within selected ethnic food markets, by company (top ten), 2008-11
                                                                    • Asda
                                                                      • Morrisons
                                                                        • Sainsbury’s
                                                                          • Tesco
                                                                            • Blue Dragon receives an overhaul to target scratch cooks as Premier takes Oxo into curry
                                                                              • Patak’s and Sharwood’s heat up NPD
                                                                                • Other NPD trends
                                                                                  • Figure 15: Interest in and usage of ethnic foods, by cuisine type, June 2012
                                                                                • Caribbean food is burgeoning
                                                                                  • Figure 16: Selection of Caribbean food NPD in the UK
                                                                                • Vietnamese gains presence in the multiples
                                                                                  • Sushi embraces whole meal formats
                                                                                    • Ethnic flavours add an exotic slant to salads
                                                                                      • Part-cook solutions remain popular in NPD
                                                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Ready meals drive overall growth in ethnic foods
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Total UK retail value sales of ethnic foods, 2007-17
                                                                                          • Future of the market – by cuisine
                                                                                            • Ready meals are on course for impressive growth
                                                                                              • Figure 18: UK retail value sales of ethnic foods, by format, 2007-17
                                                                                            • Forecast methodology
                                                                                            • Segment Performance

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Ready meals dominate the ethnic foods market
                                                                                                  • Figure 19: UK retail value sales of ethnic foods, by format, 2009-11
                                                                                                • Indian dominates ethnic cuisines
                                                                                                  • Figure 20: UK retail value share of ethnic foods, by cuisine type, 2011
                                                                                                  • Figure 21: UK retail value sales of Indian foods, by type, 2009-11
                                                                                                • Chinese ready meals record impressive growth
                                                                                                  • Figure 22: UK retail value sales of Chinese foods, by type, 2009-11
                                                                                                • Accompaniments help accelerate growth in Tex-Mex
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: UK retail value sales of Tex-Mex foods, by type, 2009-11
                                                                                                • Thai and other Oriental
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: UK retail value sales of Thai and other Oriental foods, by type, 2009-11
                                                                                              • Market Share

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Patak’s and sister brand Blue Dragon benefit from ad support
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Estimated shares of leading brands in value sales of ethnic cooking sauces, 2011
                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Estimated shares of leading brands in value sales of ethnic cooking sauces, 2009-11
                                                                                                  • Sharwood’s and Loyd Grossman have a year to forget
                                                                                                  • Companies and Products

                                                                                                    • AB World Foods
                                                                                                      • Blue Dragon
                                                                                                        • Patak’s
                                                                                                          • Levi Roots
                                                                                                            • Premier Foods
                                                                                                              • General Mills
                                                                                                                • Grace Foods
                                                                                                                  • Mars
                                                                                                                    • Paulig Group
                                                                                                                    • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Total adspend dips to £13.8 million after 2010’s record high
                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Topline advertising spend in the UK ethnic foods market*, 2008-11
                                                                                                                        • General Mills and AB World Foods account for highest spend
                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Advertising expenditure in the UK ethnic foods market, by company, 2008-11
                                                                                                                        • General Mills holds the lead in adspend
                                                                                                                          • AB World Foods steps up support for Blue Dragon
                                                                                                                            • Premier Foods
                                                                                                                              • Kikkoman channels social media
                                                                                                                              • Channels to Market

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Multiples dominate ethnic foods market
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: UK retail value sales of ethnic foods, by outlet type, 2008-11
                                                                                                                                  • Ethnic supermarkets battle for share
                                                                                                                                  • Consumer Usage of and Interest in Ethnic Foods

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Indian and Chinese food
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Types of ethnic foods eaten, June 2012
                                                                                                                                        • South American and Vietnamese cuisines hold the most interest
                                                                                                                                          • Men rather than women show more interest in trying emerging cuisines for the first time
                                                                                                                                            • Frequency of usage of ethnic foods
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Frequency of eating ethnic foods, June 2012
                                                                                                                                            • Consumer – Choice Factors

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Authenticity, clear cooking instructions and special offers are what consumers prioritise when shopping for ethnic foods
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Top five factors considered important when choosing an ethnic food product, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                  • Health concerns register low when shopping for ethnic foods
                                                                                                                                                    • Users are unconcerned about provenance in ethnic foods
                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer Attitudes Towards Buying Ethnic Foods

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Positively, more than two fifths of users are always on the lookout for new ethnic foods
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Attitudes towards buying ethnic foods, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Agreement with the statement ‘I am continually looking for new and interesting ethnic foods’, by age and socio-economic group, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Sampling and familiar brands offer means of reassuring ethnic food users
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Agreement with the statements ‘I trust ethnic foods from familiar brands more than unfamiliar brands’, and ‘I’d be happy to buy an ethnic dish if I’d enjoyed eating a sample of it in the store’, by age, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Ethnic snacks and Fairtrade-certified grab consumer imagination
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Agreement with the statements ‘There is a lack of bagged snacks from ethnic cuisines’, and ‘I would like to see more Fairtrade-certified ethnic food’, by age, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Own-label’s strong quality image presents competition for brands
                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer Attitudes Towards Eating Ethnic Foods

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Kids should be introduced to different cuisines, according to six in ten users with children
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Attitudes towards eating ethnic foods, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Half of users cook from scratch
                                                                                                                                                                  • Ethnic food has treat appeal for two fifths of users, limiting frequency
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Agreement with the statement ‘Ethnic food makes a nice but occasional treat’, by age and gross annual household income, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                  • A third of users are enjoying spicier food more than before
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Agreement with the statement ‘I enjoy spicier foods now more than a few years ago’, by age, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Consumer Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                    • Four target groups
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Target groups based on attitudes towards ethnic foods, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Ethnic Treaters (25%)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Spicephobics (22%)
                                                                                                                                                                        • Provenance People (32%)
                                                                                                                                                                          • Exotic Experimenters (21%)
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, by demographics, 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Total UK retail value sales of ethnic food, 2007-17
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: UK retail value sales of ethnic food, 2007-17
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Best- and worst-case forecasts for UK retail value sales of ethnic foods, 2012-17
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Consumer – Types of Ethnic Foods Eaten

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Usage of and interest in Chinese food, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Usage of and interest in Indian foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Usage of and interest in Thai foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Usage of and interest in Vietnamese foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Usage of and interest in Korean foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 50: Usage of and interest in Japanese foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 51: Usage of and interest in Middle Eastern (including Lebanese, Moroccan) foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Usage of and interest in Turkish foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Usage of and interest in African foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Usage of and interest in Mexican foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 55: Usage of and interest in Caribbean foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Usage of and interest in South American foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Usage of and interest in other ethnic foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Repertoire of types of ethnic foods eaten, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Consumer – Frequency of Eating Ethnic Foods

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Frequency of eating ethnic foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Consumer – Choice Factors

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Most popular top five factors considered important when choosing an ethnic food product, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Next most popular top five factors considered important when choosing an ethnic food product, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Other top five factors considered important when choosing an ethnic food product, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Consumer – Attitudes towards Buying Ethnic Foods

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Agreement with the statements ‘I’d be uncomfortable buying foods containing unfamiliar ingredients’ and ‘Products made in the place where the recipe originates are worth paying more for’, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 64: Agreement with the statements ‘I trust ethnic foods from familiar brands more than unfamiliar brands’ and ‘I am continually looking for new and interesting ethnic foods’, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 65: Agreement with the statements ‘There is a lack of bagged snacks from ethnic cuisines’ and ‘I would like to see more Fairtrade-certified ethnic food’, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 66: Agreement with the statements ‘Own-label ethnic food products are just as good as branded’ and ‘Independent ethnic food shops sell more authentic ethnic foods than big supermarkets’, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 67: Agreement with the statements ‘I’d be happy to buy an ethnic dish if I’d enjoyed eating a sample of it in the store’ and ‘I’d be keen to try more Western foods with exotic, ethnic flavours’, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Consumer – Attitudes towards Eating Ethnic Foods

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 68: Most popular attitudes towards eating ethnic foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 69: Next most popular attitudes towards eating ethnic foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 70: Other attitudes towards eating ethnic foods, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Consumer – Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 71: Target groups, by demographics, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Types of ethnic foods eaten, by target groups, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Frequency of eating ethnic foods, by target groups, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 74: Top five factors considered important when choosing an ethnic food product, by target groups, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 75: Agreement with statements on buying ethnic foods, by target groups, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 76: Attitudes towards eating ethnic foods, by target groups, June 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 77: Cooking and eating habits, by target groups, June 2012

                                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                          • AB World Foods
                                                                                                                                                                          • Campbell Soup Company
                                                                                                                                                                          • Channel 4
                                                                                                                                                                          • Discovery Foods Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                          • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                          • General Mills Inc
                                                                                                                                                                          • Grace Foods UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                          • Häagen-Dazs
                                                                                                                                                                          • Jamie Oliver
                                                                                                                                                                          • Levi Roots Reggae Reggae Foods Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                          • Patak's Foods Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                          • Paulig Group
                                                                                                                                                                          • Premier Foods plc
                                                                                                                                                                          • Tesco Plc

                                                                                                                                                                          UK Ethnic Food Market - September 2012

                                                                                                                                                                          US $2,672.70 (Excl.Tax)