Variety of ethnic flavors spice up sales

American cuisine always has been influenced by the country’s diverse population. An expanding ethnic population and a proliferation of TV cooking shows have led to even greater interest in ethnic foods among American consumers.

Ethnic food sales are expected to increase 19% from 2010 to 2015, according to a recent report published by Mintel. The study revealed that 64% of U.S. households said that ethnic sauces, condiments and/or seasonings could be found in their kitchens.

Mexican/Hispanic foods represent the largest segment of the market, comprising 62% of category sales in the food, drug and mass channels, according to Mintel. While the segment grew 9.3% from 2007 to 2009, growth was flat last year.

The Asian and Indian food segments remained the fastest-growing segments and are expected to continue to boost the market. Asian foods accounted for nearly 30% of the total market sales and topped $700 million in 2010, according to Mintel. Sales of Asian foods rose 15% and sales of Indian foods grew 16% from 2007 to 2009. The Indian segment of the category has nearly doubled in size since 2005, and is expected to continue to provide momentum for the category.

Mintel analysts predicted that Korean cuisine, made popular through food trucks on the West Coast and now moving into the world of fast casual foods, may be the next wave for home cooks.

While PepsiCo, Near East, Campbell’s Soup, ConAgra and McCormick are the brand leaders in the ethnic category, sales of private-label products — which account for 8% of category sales — were up 8% last year, outpacing the rest of the market.


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.

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