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Japanese cuisine fastest growing in EMEA

Japanese cuisine is trending as the top global food choice, ahead of Thai, Middle Eastern and Italian, claims Euromonitor
Japanese cuisine is trending as the top global food choice, ahead of Thai, Middle Eastern and Italian, claims Euromonitor

Consumers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) have a taste for Japanese cuisine and manufacturers can tap into this with meal, spice and oil kits, says Euromonitor.

Japanese food topped the list of an array of increasingly popular global cuisines, including Chinese, Indian, Tex-Mex, Brazilian, French, Cuban and Italian. Japanese was also the most popular cuisine in Latin America and Asia-Pacific. The observations from 208 Euromonitor analysts around the world in the firm’s Analyst Pulse survey indicate food and flavour trends over the past two to three years.

Thai cuisine came in as the second most popular global choice. Middle Eastern and Italian cuisine were the most popular foods from the EMEA region and Tex-Mex and American were most popular from the Americas.

Euromonitor survey analyst Priyanka Bagde told FoodNavigator that while these flavour and food trends mean restaurants have an excellent opportunity to introduce new menus and concepts, it was equally a time of opportunity for food manufacturers.

Meal kits to enable global cuisine from home

“While restaurants certainly play a role in the rise of adventurous eating, cooking at home allows culinary exploration as well. For those hoping to recreate the Pad Thai or sashimi they saw on TV, access to ingredients and – just as importantly – step-by-step instructions will be essential. This presents opportunities for manufacturers and brands in this industry to offer meal kits, spice and oil kits, and even cookware and kitchen tools that help aspiring chefs put it all together,” she said.

Manufacturers should call out product attributes, like essential flavour ingredients, that are not readily available elsewhere to drive sales, she said, and include recipes and preparation instructions.

Canadean research from July 2013  showed that in France, the share and volume of meal kits is minimal, with consumers preferring ready-meals and prepared pizzas, although meal kits were more promising in Germany.

Bagde said that if companies did develop global cuisine meal kits they should consider new marketing strategies to bolster market uptake.

“With increasing internet penetration, many people interested in exploring their culinary arts logs on to internet sites which provides them step by step instructions or recipe. These consumers could be targeted by posting advertisements on those sites.”

Grilled flavour trend indicative of health

When it came to individual flavour trends, spicy remained the biggest global favourite, fuelled by immigration trends and increasing experimentation with foreign flavours, Euromonitor said.

However, the second biggest flavour trend was grilled – a trend that Bagde said was indicative of consumer concerns around health.

“Consumers in all regions are increasingly opting for grilled foods, rather than fried foods, while relatively few analysts report rising interest in sweet foods,” she said. 

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