Mintel: Ethnic foods enjoy robust product growth

CHICAGO — While some ethnic cuisines have become mainstream, such as Italian and Chinese food, some lesser-known ethnic food products are enjoying growth in the marketplace, according to new research by Mintel.

According to Mintel's Global New Products Database, new food items that contained "Caribbean" in the product description realized a 150% increase from 2009 to 2010. In addition, Asian cuisine products, including Japanese and Thai, respectively rose 230% and 68%.

Mintel suggested that the rise in product launches could be attributed to the fact that consumers now have more outlets that offer such ethnic food products in recent years. In fact, 26% of ethnic-food lovers said they were introduced to the cuisine by television programs, newspapers or magazines that featured cuisine from other countries.

"In keeping with Mintel's 'professionalization of the amateur' CPG trend, consumers are becoming more interested in trying out complicated ethnic dishes at home that would usually be prepared by a chef in a restaurant," said David Lockwood, senior analyst at Mintel.

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