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Defining Ethnic Food - US - August 2015

Defining Ethnic Food - US - August 2015

Consumers are embracing a host of ethnic cuisines and, in the process, are expecting those dishes to deliver not only more flavor than mainstream foods but also specific attributes by cuisine. Mexican and Latin American dishes appear to be the domain of spicier flavor profiles, while Mediterranean and Thai offerings merge novel flavors, a greater array of fruits and vegetables, and more healthy attributes, just to cite a few cuisines. The term "ethnic" appears by no means to be derogative or belittling and, instead, as more a means of classification and better quantifying consumer expectations and, particularly in the case of older generations, distinguishing the familiar. To consumers, the use of “ethnic” as a descriptor is more a means of categorizing specific foods as unique and different than what they regard as traditional fare.

This report looks at the following areas:

Consumers, overall, embracing only a few ethnic cuisines
Social media impacts Millennial exposure to ethnic foods


OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The issues
Figure 1: Consumption/preparation of ethnic/international foods (any consumption in parentheses), April 2015
Figure 2: Learning about ethnic foods, by generation, April 2015
The opportunities
Figure 3: International/regional cuisines considered most ethnic, by generation, April 2015
Figure 4: Opinions of ethnic foods, by Hispanic origin, April 2015
Figure 5: New food/drink products featuring spicy/pepper flavors, 2010-14
Figure 6: Consumption/preparation of ethnic/international foods, by children in household, April 2015
What it means
THE MARKET
Market factors
Immigration among factors adding to consumers’ diverse palates
Figure 7: Foreign-born consumers in the US, by country/region of origin, 2012
Figure 8: Country of origin of most legal US immigrants aside from Mexico, 2012
Travel influencing consumer interest in international cuisines
Figure 9: US consumer travel internationally, in thousands, 2005-14
Figure 10: Status of ethnic flavor profiles among US consumers, February 2015
THE CONSUMER
What you need to know
Millennials embrace a variety of ethnic foods
Consumer expectations from ‘ethnic’
Children impact the healthy perception of ethnic
Italian leads most popular ethnic cuisines
Millennials embrace variety of options
Figure 11: Consumption/preparation of ethnic/international foods (any consumption in parentheses), April 2015
Mexican meals resonating strongly with all consumers
Millennials, Gen X leading interest in non-Mexican Hispanic and Spanish cuisines
Figure 12: Consumption/preparation of ethnic/international foods, by generation, April 2015
Millennials exploring Asian options beyond Chinese, Japanese
Thai, Korean foods not yet resonating with older consumers
Figure 13: Consumption/preparation of ethnic/international foods, by generation, April 2015
Millennials demonstrating strong interest in Indian, Middle Eastern Foods
Greek cuisine has potential to draw upon its Mediterranean roots
Figure 14: Consumption/preparation of ethnic/international foods, by generation, April 2015
Consumers perceive ethnic foods as less artificial and more flavorful
“Ethnic” relates to cuisines outside the routine
Figure 15: Defining ‘ethnic,’ April 2015
Figure 16: Behaviors and attitudes toward ethnic items, August 2014
Restaurants fuel most awareness of ethnic cuisines
Non-Millennials learn more from restaurants, while Millennials also discover ethnic options from new media
Figure 17: Learning about ethnic foods, by generation, April 2015
Figure 18: Learning about ethnic foods, by presence/age of children in household, April 2015
Ethnic foods flavorful, but not necessarily spicy
Ethnic not the same as foreign
Figure 19: Defining ‘ethnic,’ April 2015
Figure 20: Opinions relating to ethnic foods, Winter 2012-Winter 2015
Cuisines considered most ethnic
Consumers regard ethnic brands as a point of differentiation
Figure 21: International/regional cuisines considered most ethnic, by generation, April 2015
Figure 22: International/regional cuisines considered most ethnic, by Hispanic origin, April 2015
Ethnic flavor profiles by generation
Older consumers more likely to seek sweet and sour in ethnic foods
Figure 23: Flavors associated with ethnic foods, by generation, April 2015
Hispanic opinions of ethnic foods
Potential emotional attachment to ethnic varieties and brands
Figure 24: Opinions of ethnic foods, by Hispanic origin, April 2015
Figure 25: Authenticity of ethnic items, by Hispanic origin, August 2014
Spicy helps define ethnic options
‘Savory’ and ‘tangy’ of notable interest to non-Hispanics
Figure 26: Flavors associated with ethnic foods, by Hispanic origin, April 2015
Figure 27: New food/drink products featuring spicy/pepper flavors, 2010-14
Households with children consume a variety of ethnic foods
These households also skew younger overall, into age demographics more open to ethnic cuisines of all types
Figure 28: Consumption/preparation of ethnic/international foods, by children in household, April 2015
Figure 29: US households, by presence of own children, 2003-13
Health and ethnic foods
Households with children more likely to regard ethnic as healthy
Figure 30: Defining ‘ethnic,’ April 2015
Figure 31: Opinions of ethnic foods, any agree, by presence and age of children in household, April 2015
Correspondence analysis – Defining ethnic food – August 2015
Italian essentially a staple in the home
Figure 32: Correspondence Analysis – Consumption/preparation of ethnic/international foods, April 2015
Expanding the variety of retail meals
Figure 33: Consumption/preparation of ethnic cuisines, April 2015
Consumer segmentation
Figure 34: Consumers of ethnic foods, April 2015
Group one: Embracing Ethnic
Figure 35: Opinions of ethnic foods, by target group, any agree, April 2015
Group two: Seeking Scratch-made Ethnic Foods
Figure 36: Opinions of ethnic foods, by target group, any agree, April 2015
Group three: Healthy Ethnic Aficionados
Figure 37: Opinions of ethnic foods, by target group, any agree, April 2015
APPENDIX
Data sources and abbreviations
Data sources
Abbreviations and terms
Appendix – Methodology for correspondence analysis
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
US Research Methodology
Consumer research
Social Media Research
Trade research
Statistical Forecasting

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