As the demographics of the U.S. continue to change, so does the demand for specific 1162677_sushitypes of food. In particular, consumers are increasing the amount of ethnic food they buy. According to Mintel, the demand for ethnic food will increase by 20% between 2010 and 2014.

Marketers who are deciding which new items to develop should consider the fastest growing categories of ethnic foods. For now, that includes Mexican, Asian and Indian. Mintel analysts point to the following demographic indicators when pinpointing which consumers groups are likely to experiment with ethnic foods:

  • Higher income:  92% of consumers with household income exceeding $150,000 say they have cooked ethnic food in the last month
  • Young adults: 91% of consumers between the ages of 18-24 have cooked ethnic food in the last month

While news reports are filled with stories about consumers who define microwaving as cooking, Mintel analysts have a different take on the topic. Their recent survey finds that “more Americans are classifying themselves as ‘cooking enthusiasts’ and are having fun with cooking and experimenting with new flavors and foods.”

Manufacturers should keep in mind that while 1 in 3 survey respondents admits to purchasing ‘meal solutions’ or ‘heat-and-serve meals’, another 2 in 3 respondents go to the store to purchase ingredients and cook from scratch. This new enthusiasm for different ingredients and flavorings could lead to more marketing perhaps disguised as how-to videos on company Web sites.

[Source: American dish on ethnic fare, Mintel, 10.15.09 release]