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UK World Cuisines market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the World Cuisines - UK market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Value sales within the world cuisine market in 2019 slowed after three years of impressive growth, moderate 1.4% growth taking sales to a total of £1,801 million. Recent value growth has been driven predominantly by rising average prices fuelled by inflation and consumers trading up within the category, rather than an increase in volume sales.


Value growth of the world cuisine market will continue over the next five years, however, this will continue to be fuelled by rising prices. Emerging cuisines will gain ground, however, this is expected to come at the expense of established cuisines. Competition from the foodservice channel remains a key feature of the market, with the retail channel in the position to gain if people curb dining out either due to the COVID-19 outbreak or in the aftermath of Brexit.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alice Pilkington, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

World cuisines are an ingrained part of UK menus. Within established cuisines strong demand for newness points to opportunities for introducing new formats, whilst providing on-pack explanations of unfamiliar dishes should help emerging cuisines grow their user base Alice Pilkington
Food & Drink Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Value growth slows whilst volume stagnates in 2019
              • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK retail value sales of world cuisine foods, 2014-24
            • Ready meals decline, healthy growth continues for accompaniments/ingredients
              • Foodservice continues to both influence and infiltrate retail
                • Versatile world cuisines can capitalise on meat-free trend
                  • Companies and brands
                    • Own-label continues to dominate world cuisine market
                      • Foodservice brands expand in retail
                        • Convenient formats aid accessibility of world cuisines
                          • Skewer kits aim to maintain interest in established cuisines
                            • Plant-based ranges embrace world cuisines
                              • Old El Paso launches biggest ever campaign to ‘Make Some Noise’
                                • Charlie Bigham and Blue Dragon link with authenticity
                                  • The consumer
                                    • World cuisines are an ingrained part of consumers’ menus
                                      • Figure 2: World cuisines eaten at home in the last three months and interest in eating world cuisines in future, by type, November 2019
                                    • Umami flavours should be called out more
                                      • Figure 3: Types of flavours preferred most when eating world cuisines at home, November 2019
                                    • Sub-20 minute prep and help to bring new life to leftovers appeal
                                      • Figure 4: World cuisine product concepts of interest, November 2019
                                    • High demand for variety within favourite cuisines
                                      • Figure 5: Behaviours relating to world cuisines, November 2019
                                    • World cuisine products have potential to inject excitement into British dishes
                                      • Figure 6: Attitudes towards world cuisines, November 2019
                                    • What we think
                                    • Issues and Insights

                                      • Dominant cuisines can mine strong demand for new varieties
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Making short preparation time clearer on-pack is key to winning over time-poor consumer
                                              • The facts
                                                • The implications
                                                  • Tailoring to taste will also help world cuisines respond to new trends
                                                    • The facts
                                                      • The implications
                                                        • Clear on-pack explanations can combat consumer distrust of new product names
                                                          • The facts
                                                            • The implications
                                                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Value growth slows whilst volume stagnates in 2019
                                                                • Continued value growth ahead
                                                                  • Ready meals decline, healthy growth continues for accompaniments/ingredients
                                                                    • Foodservice continues to both influence and infiltrate retail
                                                                      • Versatile world cuisines can capitalise on meat-free trend
                                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                        • Value growth slows whilst volume stagnates in 2019
                                                                          • Figure 7: Total UK retail value sales of world cuisine food, 2014-24
                                                                        • Continued value growth ahead
                                                                          • Figure 8: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK retail value sales of world cuisine foods, 2014-24
                                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                                        • Market Segmentation

                                                                          • Ready meals decline
                                                                            • Figure 9: UK retail value sales of world cuisine foods, by format, 2017-19
                                                                          • Healthy growth continues for accompaniments/ingredients
                                                                            • Cooking sauces recover from 2018 stagnation
                                                                              • Growth slows for established cuisines
                                                                                • Figure 10: UK retail value sales of world cuisine foods, by cuisine, 2017-19
                                                                              • Mexican segment sees minor decline
                                                                                • Figure 11: UK retail value sales of world cuisine foods, by cuisine and format, 2017-19
                                                                            • Market Drivers

                                                                              • Action on Salt finds “unnecessary” levels of salt in popular sauces
                                                                                • Foodservice continues to both influence and infiltrate retail
                                                                                  • Versatile world cuisines can capitalise on meat-free trend
                                                                                    • Environmentally friendly packaging is in the spotlight
                                                                                      • Potential for Brexit and COVID-19 to benefit the world cuisines retail market
                                                                                        • Uptake of world cuisines will continue to rise
                                                                                        • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                          • Own-label continues to dominate world cuisine market
                                                                                            • Foodservice brands expand in retail
                                                                                              • Convenient formats aid accessibility of world cuisines
                                                                                                • Skewer kits aim to maintain interest in established cuisines
                                                                                                  • Plant-based ranges embrace world cuisines
                                                                                                    • Old El Paso launches biggest ever campaign to ‘Make Some Noise’
                                                                                                      • Charlie Bigham and Blue Dragon link with authenticity
                                                                                                      • Market Share

                                                                                                        • Own-label continues to dominate world cuisine market
                                                                                                          • Cooking sauce brands lead the Indian segment
                                                                                                            • Figure 12: Leading brands in the Indian ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments/ingredients market, by value, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                            • Figure 13: Leading manufacturers in the Indian ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments/ingredients market, by value, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                          • Blue Dragon leads a fragmented Chinese segment
                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Leading brands in the Chinese ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments/ingredients market, by value, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Leading manufacturers in the Chinese ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments/ingredients market, by value, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                          • Old El Paso retains top position in Mexican
                                                                                                            • Figure 16: Leading brands in the Mexican ready meals, cooking sauces and accompaniments/ingredients market, by value, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                        • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                          • Foodservice brands expand in retail
                                                                                                            • Nando’s brings spice to meal kits
                                                                                                              • Figure 17: Nando’s extends into meal kits, 2019
                                                                                                            • Itsu links with M&S for ramen range…
                                                                                                              • Figure 18: Examples of Itsu’s new retail products, 2019-20
                                                                                                            • …in the wake of a string of ramen kit launches
                                                                                                              • Fusion trend continues to influence NPD
                                                                                                                • Sharwood’s rolls out Street Food Wrap Kits, Aldi launches fajita burger
                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Sharwood’s Street food katsu curry wrap kit, 2019
                                                                                                                • Capsicana embraces Latin American fusion
                                                                                                                  • Convenient formats aid accessibility of world cuisines…
                                                                                                                    • Snack pots make world cuisines quick and easy to prepare
                                                                                                                      • Figure 20: Twistd Flavour Co. Moroccan Inspired Cous Cous & Lentils, 2019
                                                                                                                    • Slow cooking simplified by Homepride
                                                                                                                      • No-mess solutions
                                                                                                                        • Figure 21: Potts Piri Piri Marinating Bag, 2019
                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Uncle Ben’s ‘One pot’ Solutions, 2019
                                                                                                                      • …and new formats help to maintain interest in category
                                                                                                                        • Skewer kits emerge
                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Patak’s Street Food Fiery Gunpowder Skewers Kit, 2019
                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Blue Dragon and Thai Taste skewer kits, 2019
                                                                                                                        • Sainsbury’s emphasises Indian regions in new premium ready meals
                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Sainsbury’s new premium Indian regional meals, 2019
                                                                                                                        • Korean offering expands
                                                                                                                          • Yogiyo builds interest in emerging cuisines
                                                                                                                            • Figure 26: Yogiyo Original Udon Ramen Kit, 2019
                                                                                                                          • Gochujang paste adds spice to the market
                                                                                                                            • Plant-based ranges embrace world cuisines
                                                                                                                              • Figure 27: Examples of vegetarian and plant-based world cuisine options from leading UK grocers, 2019
                                                                                                                            • Mars adds new vegetarian-friendly Tasty Bite range
                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Examples of Mars Food’s Tasty Bite Range, 2019
                                                                                                                          • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                            • Old El Paso launches biggest ever campaign to ‘Make Some Noise’
                                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on world cuisine, 2019
                                                                                                                            • Kikkoman looks to expand ways consumers use soy sauce
                                                                                                                              • ‘Only Delicious Will Do’ for Charlie Bigham
                                                                                                                                • Blue Dragon urges consumers to ‘Keep Exploring’
                                                                                                                                  • Itsu launches integrated campaign to promote restaurant and grocery gyoza range
                                                                                                                                    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                      • World cuisines are an ingrained part of consumers’ menus
                                                                                                                                        • Chinese and Indian dominate but considerable interest in less established cuisines
                                                                                                                                          • Umami flavours should be called out more
                                                                                                                                            • Sub-20 minute prep appeals widely
                                                                                                                                              • World cuisines can win favour by helping to bring new life to leftovers
                                                                                                                                                • High demand for variety within favourite cuisines
                                                                                                                                                  • World cuisine products have potential to inject excitement into British dishes
                                                                                                                                                    • Brands need to provide on-pack explanations of new dishes
                                                                                                                                                    • Usage of World Cuisines at Home

                                                                                                                                                      • World cuisines are an ingrained part of consumers’ menus
                                                                                                                                                        • Chinese and Indian dominate but considerable interest in less established cuisines
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: World cuisines eaten at home in the last three months and interest in eating world cuisines in future, by type, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Under-45s are core users of world cuisines
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Eating Chinese and Indian food at home at least once a week, by age, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Two in five adults eat at least five cuisines
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Repertoire of types of world cuisines eaten, by age, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • World Cuisine Products Eaten or Used at Home

                                                                                                                                                        • Meal accompaniments, seasonings and cooking sauces are among top products
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Types of world cuisine products eaten or used in the last three months, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Ready meal users hold untapped potential for condiments
                                                                                                                                                        • Flavour Type Preferences in World Cuisines

                                                                                                                                                          • Umami flavours should be called out more
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Types of flavours preferred most when eating world cuisines at home, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Spotlight on umami can help engage flexitarians
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Examples of products calling out umami flavours on their packaging, 2016-19
                                                                                                                                                          • Interest in aromatic flavours holds potential for Middle Eastern cuisine
                                                                                                                                                          • World Cuisine Product Concepts of Interest

                                                                                                                                                            • Sub-20 minute prep appeals widely
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: World cuisine product concepts of interest, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Examples of brands making preparation time a central part of their on-front packaging, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                            • World cuisines can win favour by helping to bring new life to leftovers
                                                                                                                                                              • Tailoring to taste chimes widely
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Itsu Teriyaki Chicken & Sticky Rice Meal Kit demonstrating the flexibility of its product, 2020
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Examples of recommendations for tailoring to taste in world cuisine products, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Uncle Ben's Caribbean Jerk Inspired One Pot Rice Kit calling for spice level to be adjusted to taste, 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Behaviours Relating to World Cuisines

                                                                                                                                                              • High demand for variety within favourite cuisines
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Behaviours relating to world cuisines, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Expanding formats can provide a sense of newness
                                                                                                                                                                • Meal deals provide choice, convenience and affordability
                                                                                                                                                                • Attitudes towards World Cuisines

                                                                                                                                                                  • World cuisine products have potential to inject excitement into British dishes
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Attitudes towards world cuisines, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                  • Brands need to provide on-pack explanations of new dishes
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Examples of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference ready meals giving details of regional cuisines, 2020
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: CJ Foods Bibigo Mandu Beef Bulgogi Dumplings packaging with explanation of the terms mandu and bulgogi, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                  • Further opportunities for world cuisines to capitalise on the big night in
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Recent examples of world cuisine flavours in snacks, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Consumers’ frequency of cooking meals from scratch, 2016-19
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK retail value sales of world cuisine foods, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Share

                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Brands and own-label in the Thai ready meals market, by value, 2018 and 2019

                                                                                                                                                                        About the report

                                                                                                                                                                        This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                          What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                          Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                          Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                          New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                          Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                          What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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