Younger Consumers Essential to Ethnic Food Market
Nine in 10 adults 25 to 35-years-old say they prepared ethnic food at home in the past month, compared to 68 percent of those 65+, according to research from Mintel. Additionally, 91 percent of Americans with children under the age of 18 in the home cooked ethnic food compared to 78 percent of those without children.
“The ethnic food category has had a very strong performance during the recession, followed by a still positive but slightly lower growth trend, likely driven by a return to restaurants,” said John N. Frank, category manager, CPG food & drink at Mintel. “However, the category is forecast to grow in the future due to its heightened popularity. As Americans, especially younger people, have palates that are becoming more adventurous and sophisticated, they are also eager to explore lesser-known cuisines with unique flavor combinations.”
The ethnic food category experienced an overall growth of 12 percent from 2007-09; this performance was likely driven by a migration from restaurant eating to increased food store purchases for at-home dining due to restricted budgets. Beginning in 2010, however, sales have increased by only 4.5 percent from 2010-12, a much lower rate than during the recession.
Nevertheless, according to Mintel the ethnic food market is forecast to grow by 20.3 percent from 2012-17, likely driven by continued consumer interest and more focused product development.
While households with children continue to over index on consumption of all types of ethnic food prepared at home, Hispanic food is the most popular, with 72 percent of respondents from households with children preparing this cuisine at home in the past month compared to only 50 percent of those without children.
“The popularity of Hispanic food is likely due to how mainstream it has become in the US and the ease and convenience of preparing it,” Frank added. “The endless supply of Mexican, Cuban and other Hispanic-based restaurants have given home cooks infinite possibilities for re-creating these restaurant-style meals at home.”