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Ethnic Foods - US - January 2012

An increasingly diverse population and more frequent home cooking helped the ethnic food market continue to grow in 2011, reaching nearly $3 billion in sales. However, the 3.5% growth during this time is the slowest seen in the category over the five years prior. Signs of an improving economy may have driven some consumers back to restaurants, where they might find a more authentic ethnic food experience at the hands of professional chefs, or simply obtain fast and convenient meal options at a reasonable cost.

Staving off future slowdowns will require close attention to consumer interests and behavior. Furthermore, marketers must focus on strong new products that will attract consumer attention and empower them to feel confident about incorporating ethnic food into home meal plans.

This report focuses on Mexican/Hispanic, Asian, Indian, and “other” ethnic food sales data primarily, and analyzes consumer and new product data on more than 20 ethnic cuisines. In addition to presenting sales data by segment, supplier and brand, the report considers a range of topics, including:

  • Key trends that are influencing the ethnic food market
  • Major market drivers and their impact on the overall competitive environment
  • Sales opportunities that out-of-home consumption offers ethnic food manufacturers
  • The performance of various category segments, and what they are doing to build sales momentum
  • How manufacturers are generating excitement for the sector via their latest product innovations
  • The role that key demographic factors such as race, household income, and gender play in the ethnic food category, and its impact for both the short and long term
  • Media strategies that industry leaders are using to reach consumers
  • Changes in ethnic food preparation and consumption and what they mean moving forward
  • The increasing importance of authenticity and convenience in a burgeoning retail market

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Segment and data definitions
          • Data sources
            • Sales data
              • Consumer data
                • Advertising creative
                  • Abbreviations and terms
                    • Abbreviations
                      • Terms
                      • Executive Summary

                        • Retail ethnic food market experiencing slow down
                          • The market is fueled by a variety of factors
                            • Splintered market fed by competition
                              • The ethnic food consumer
                                • Innovations and marketing emphasize authenticity
                                  • Growth may hinge on convenience, health, and heightened retailer activity
                                  • Insights and Opportunities

                                    • Snack time
                                      • A focus on health
                                        • Retailers as ambassadors
                                        • Inspire Insights

                                            • Trend 1: A Simple Balance for Health
                                              • Trend 2: Minimize Me
                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Ethnic food category sees slowest growth in five years
                                                    • Sales and forecast of ethnic food
                                                      • Figure 1: FDMx sales of ethnic food, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                      • Figure 2: FDMx sales of ethnic food, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2006-16
                                                    • Fan-chart forecast
                                                      • Figure 3: Fan chart forecast of ethnic food, 2006-16
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Interest in ethnic food grows
                                                      • Figure 4: Ethnic food consumption in and out of the home, October 2011
                                                    • Increasingly diverse population drives ethnic food growth
                                                      • Figure 5: Population, by race and Hispanic origin, 2006-16
                                                      • Figure 6: Foreign-born population, by period of entry and country of birth, 2005-10
                                                    • Prolonged struggling economy shifts consumer spending patterns
                                                      • Figure 7: Change in restaurant usage in past year, by gender, May 2011
                                                  • Competitive Context

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Seeking the skill and convenience of professionals
                                                        • Ethnic food at restaurants
                                                          • Food trucks take ethnic food on the move
                                                          • Segment Performance

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Mexican/Hispanic food continues to dominate the category, but loses share
                                                                • Sales of ethnic food in FDMx
                                                                  • Figure 8: FDMx sales of ethnic food, by segment, 2009-11
                                                              • Segment Performance—Mexican/Hispanic Food

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Mexican/Hispanic food sales remain strong
                                                                    • Sales and forecast of Mexican/Hispanic food
                                                                      • Figure 9: FDMx sales of Mexican/Hispanic food, 2006-16
                                                                  • Segment Performance—Asian Food

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • A diversified segment lends to growth, but slowly
                                                                        • Sales and forecast of Asian food
                                                                          • Figure 10: FDMx sales and forecast of Asian food, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                      • Segment Performance—Indian Food

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Convenience foods may benefit segment the most
                                                                            • Sales and forecast of Indian food
                                                                              • Figure 11: FDMx sales and forecast of Indian food, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                          • Segment Performance—Other Ethnic Food

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Big gains in segment indicate consumer interest in health and convenience
                                                                                • Sales and forecast of other ethnic food
                                                                                  • Figure 12: FDMx sales and forecast of other ethnic food, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                              • Leading Companies

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Snack foods help leading companies maintain lead
                                                                                    • FDMx sales of ethnic food by manufacturer
                                                                                      • Figure 13: Leading manufacturer FDMx sales of ethnic food in the U.S., 2010 and 2011
                                                                                  • Brand Share—Mexican/Hispanic Food

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Segment leaders offer varied product lines, but snacks lead
                                                                                        • Manufacturer and brand sales of Mexican/Hispanic food
                                                                                          • Figure 14: Selected FDMx brand sales of Mexican/Hispanic food, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                      • Brand Share—Asian Food

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Growth in the segment gets no help from leaders
                                                                                            • Manufacturer and brand sales of Asian food
                                                                                              • Figure 15: Selected FDMx brand sales of Asian food, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                          • Brand Share—Indian Food

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Segment leader goes beyond Indian cuisine
                                                                                                • Manufacturer and brand sales of Indian food
                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Selected FDMx brand sales of Indian food, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                              • Brand Share—Other Ethnic Food

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Mediterranean dominates the “other” segment
                                                                                                    • Manufacturer and brand sales of “other” ethnic food
                                                                                                      • Figure 17: Selected FDMx brand sales of other ethnic food, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                                  • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Hispanic/Mexican food innovations down while Indian proliferates
                                                                                                        • Figure 18: ethnic food product launches, by cuisine type, 2007-11*
                                                                                                      • A shift in the ethnic food landscape
                                                                                                        • Figure 19: Top 10 ethnic food product launches, by share % and by category type, 2007-11*
                                                                                                      • Health claims outpace convenience claims
                                                                                                        • Figure 20: Ethnic food product launches, by share % and by top claims, 2007-11*
                                                                                                      • Product innovations
                                                                                                        • Snacks
                                                                                                          • BFY
                                                                                                            • Spicy
                                                                                                              • Consumer tastes expand
                                                                                                                • Convenience
                                                                                                                • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                  • Overview of brand landscape
                                                                                                                    • Brand analysis: Near East
                                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Brand analysis of Near East, 2011
                                                                                                                    • Online initiatives
                                                                                                                      • TV presence
                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Near East TV ad, “A journey,” 2011
                                                                                                                      • Other initiatives
                                                                                                                        • Brand analysis: Kikkoman
                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Brand analysis of Kikkoman, 2011
                                                                                                                        • Online initiatives
                                                                                                                          • TV presence
                                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Kikkoman TV ad, “Japanese Secret,” 2011
                                                                                                                            • Figure 25: Kikkoman TV ad, “Simple and Delicious,” 2011
                                                                                                                          • Other initiatives
                                                                                                                            • Brand analysis: Old El Paso
                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Brand analysis of Old El Paso, 2011
                                                                                                                            • Online initiatives
                                                                                                                              • TV presence
                                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Old El Paso TV ad, “Tacos Tonight,” 2011
                                                                                                                              • Social media presence
                                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Social media presence of selected ethnic food brands, Dec. 23, 2011
                                                                                                                            • Frequency of Ethnic Food Preparation at Home

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Rise in ethnic food preparation
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, December 2010 and October 2011
                                                                                                                                • Home cooks like to mix it up
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, October 2011
                                                                                                                                • Age and presence of children strongest influencers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, by key demographics, October 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Affluents prepare most cuisine types with greater frequency
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, by household income, October 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Importance of multicultural distribution evident in preparation frequency
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, by region, October 2011
                                                                                                                                • Ethnic Food Found in the Home

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Fresh popular among frequent food preparers
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Ethnic food found in the home, by age, October 2011
                                                                                                                                      • Highest-income households most likely to have most types of ethnic food
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Ethnic food found in the home, by household income, October 2011
                                                                                                                                      • Midwesterners could use a little cajoling
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Ethnic food found in the home, by region, October 2011
                                                                                                                                    • Shopping Behavior for Ethnic Meal Preparation at Home

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Scratch cooking down as interest in time-saving, convenience food grows
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Shopping behavior for ethnic meal preparation at home, by employment, December 2010 vs. October 2011
                                                                                                                                        • Oldest consumers might be reached through pre-made meals
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Shopping behavior for ethnic meal preparation at home, by age, October 2011
                                                                                                                                      • Important Ethnic Food Characteristics

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Authenticity is most important ethnic food characteristic
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Important ethnic food characteristics, by gender, October 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Oldest respondents prioritize health-related characteristics
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Important ethnic food characteristics, by age, October 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Highest income households prioritize quality
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Important ethnic food characteristics, by household income, October 2011
                                                                                                                                        • Ethnic Food Usage Outside the Home

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Consumption of ethnic food away from home on the rise
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Ethnic food consumption frequency away from home, October 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Variety plays a role in eating out
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Ethnic food consumption frequency away from home, October 2011
                                                                                                                                            • A look at who’s eating ethnic food away from home
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Ethnic food consumption frequency away from home, by key demographics, October 2011
                                                                                                                                              • Away-from-home consumption varies by household income
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Ethnic food consumption frequency away from home, by household income, October 2011
                                                                                                                                              • Where consumers eat ethnic food away from home
                                                                                                                                                • Independent restaurants popular with high-frequency diners
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Where consumers eat ethnic food away from home, by age, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Where consumers eat ethnic food away from home, by household income, October 2011
                                                                                                                                              • Drivers for Ethnic Food Usage

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Younger respondents more open to suggestions
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Drivers for ethnic food usage, by age, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Lowest income earners not easily influenced
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Drivers for ethnic food usage, by household income, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Asian respondents are the highest-frequency ethnic food preparers
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Median household income, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Asian respondents most likely to cook from scratch
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Shopping behavior for ethnic meal preparation at home, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Asian respondents prioritize most food characteristics
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Important ethnic food characteristics, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Asian respondents influenced by a variety of factors
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Drivers for ethnic food usage, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Usage and attitudes of ethnic food, by meal preparation group
                                                                                                                                                            • Italian and Mexican food are user friendly, consumers seek help with others
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 55: Ethnic food consumption frequency at home, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Away-from-home Asian cuisine consumption indicates preparation anxiety
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Ethnic food consumption frequency away from home, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Convenient Meals group doesn’t eschew BFY
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Important ethnic food characteristics, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Usage of and attitudes towards ethnic food, by home user frequency
                                                                                                                                                                • Encouraging Lows and Mediums to go High
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Ethnic food consumption frequency at home, by custom groups, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Attracting the Medium group with convenience foods
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Shopping behavior for ethnic meal preparation at home, by custom groups, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                  • Food shopping and meal preparation
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Food shopping and meal preparation, by gender, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Food shopping and meal preparation, by age, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Food shopping and meal preparation, by household income, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Food shopping and meal preparation, by household size, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Food shopping and meal preparation, by urban area, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 65: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, by gender, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, by age, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: Frequency of ethnic food preparation at home, by presence of children in household, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Important ethnic food characteristics, by presence of children in household, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Drivers for ethnic food usage, by gender, October 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                  • ACH Food Companies Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                  • Amy's Kitchen Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                  • B&G Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                  • Campbell Soup Company
                                                                                                                                                                  • ConAgra Foods, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                  • Frito-Lay, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                  • General Mills Inc
                                                                                                                                                                  • Kikkoman Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                  • McCormick & Company, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                  • PepsiCo Inc
                                                                                                                                                                  • Ruiz Foods, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                  • The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                  • Whole Foods Market Inc

                                                                                                                                                                  Ethnic Foods - US - January 2012

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