Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods showed the biggest gains in the last three years in the ethnic food category. Sales of ethnic food products grew in food, drug and mass outlets by 3.5% in 2011, reaching nearly $3 billion by year’s end, according to a recent report from Mintel. That rate is the slowest measured in the past five years, according to Mintel.
The market research firm predicted that continued consumer interest in ethnic foods will propel the category to increase sales 5% to 6% annually for the next five years. Future growth, according to the report, will come from snack items and convenience foods that have a better-for-you or healthy profile.
Consumer interest in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods are expected to propel much of that growth as consumers favor healthy choices.
Mexican/Hispanic and Asian food brands — including Tostitos, Pace, and Kikkoman — still represent the largest segments in the category. Mexican/Hispanic foods, while still the category leaders, did lose some share to Asian foods during 2009 to 2011, and the segment saw a marked drop in new product introductions.
While sales of Asian food products actually slowed somewhat, the segment posted a 4.6% increase in sales during the same period, and sales of Indian food declined slightly.
The biggest winner in the ethnic food category was the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern segment, where the category leader is Sabra.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Ethnic Foods Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.