Ethnic food sales are on the rise and expected to hit a record $2.2 billion this year, and grow by another 20% between 2010 and 2014, Marketing Daily reported.
The estimates came from Mintel, the global research supplier report company, which noted that more than 1 million foreigners have become permanent legal U.S. residents each year since 2005, giving steady growth to the ethnic foods market since 2004.
Mexican/Hispanic foods dominate are the most popular among the ethnic foods at 62%. Six in 10 consumers in Mintel’s surveys reported they cooked Mexican food within the past month.
The category’s real growth-drivers between 2006 and 2008 were Asian foods (11%) and Indian foods (35%). Wealth and youth are two of the strongest predictors of ethnic food cooking, with 92% of households with incomes of $150,000 or higher and 91% of consumers 18 to 24 reporting that they cooked ethnic foods in the past month.
Food manufacturers also are encouraging the cooking trend by providing ethnic sauces and seasonings to add to home-prepared meats and vegetables, “or taking it a step further with meal solutions and pre-made meal kits,” noted Mintel senior analyst David Browne.