Interest in World Cuisine has been growing for some time in the UK. Prior to the pandemic in 2019, specialist supermarkets were lining their shelves with products & flavours from around the world. Korean supermarkets were introducing us to kimchi, gochujang, bulgogi & sweet Korean pancakes. The world cuisine aisles of the major mults were filling out too – a March 2018 report by Mintel found retail sales of world cuisine ready meals, cooking sauces and ingredients to be up 5% for the second year in a row, with the category worth £1.8bn.
Two years on & with the onset of a global pandemic, World Cuisine growth accelerated to £2bn (+11%) in 2020 as shoppers satisfied their appetite for travel by cooking up more exotic foods in their kitchens. It’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down – here we take a look at the impact of the pandemic on consumer behaviour in the kitchen, and the opportunities for brands in the World Cuisine sector.
Convenience remains an important factor for many World Cuisine consumers.
Whether they have more time at home or not, 53% of World Cuisine buyers say they would spend more on a World Cuisine product that is easy to prepare, and 32% of people agree that convenience is more important than authenticity when cooking/preparing world foods. Lack of time, limited skill set in the kitchen and limited access to ingredients are all likely to play a part here. Meal Kits & pre-mixed seasoning blends that offer authentic flavours in convenient formats are well placed to meet this enduring consumer need.
Specialist Sides help to create the restaurant experience at home.
During the pandemic there was an increase in the number of consumers trying to recreate the restaurant experience at home… with 61% of shoppers enjoying meal accompaniments (naan bread, prawn crackers etc); 47% shoppers eating side dishes (Bombay potato, spring rolls etc) and 58% eating condiments & dips (mango chutney, soy sauce etc) (Mintel March 2021). ‘Specialist Sides’ are an exciting area for NPD as shoppers look out for delicious, authentic accompaniments that will elevate their dinner at home!
An appetite to travel the world through food!
Interest in Pan Asian cuisine has boomed due to its diverse range of flavours, its suitability for flexitarian diets as well as convenience. Middle Eastern food is increasing in popularity & has moved into the mainstream, and according to Mintel, 56% of consumers are interested in eating South American cuisine such as Brazilian & Argentinian. Food brands that can provide consumers with the tools to easily create a hero dish from around the world, will inspire those who are looking to experiment at mealtimes. Drinks brands can also jump on this trend by aligning with specific cuisines or dishes, or partnering with complimentary food brands.
An eye on health.
HFSS will certainly make shoppers more aware of high, fat, salt & sugar products in 2022. Yet many shoppers have a much broader agenda when it comes to health, with flexitarian diets increasing in popularity & interest in ingredients that benefit mental & physical health also on the rise. It is the new product development of healthier world cuisine solutions that are expected to drive further growth of the World Cuisine sector, post pandemic.
The reopening of foodservice will undoubtedly have impacted the World Cuisine market in the short term, but cautious spending among many consumers & ongoing periods of isolation & restrictions may also support the sector, providing opportunity for brands that can tap into increased consumer interest in adventurous flavours through food!
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Source : Mintel World Cuisine Market Report 2021. | The Grocer July 2019