Chinese is favourite ethnic food

The Indian curry, Britain’s long-standing favourite ethnic food, has been knocked off the top spot by Chinese cuisine, according to a new report from Mintel.

According to the new report on the ethnic food market, 83% of people surveyed said that Chinese is their favourite, while Indian was a close second with 71% of the vote.

Combined, Indian and Chinese now account for a massive 70% of the ethnic food market, although the popularity of Mexican food is increasing rapidly and the Mexican market has seen 20% growth over the last two years.

In terms of purchasing power, sales of Indian cuisine surpassed Chinese by £189 million in the last year alone - suggesting Brits are still favouring Indian food to cook at home in the kitchen. This is significant because the recession is encouraging people to eat at home instead of restaurants and 62% of Brits agree that if eating at home, it is cheaper to cook than get a takeaway.

With four in ten adults already eating ethnic food at home once a month, Mintel projects that the retail value of ethnic value in Britain will increase to over £1.5 billion by 2013.

Chinese home-cooking is already seeing growth, with stir fry sales up 37% over the last two years and cooking sauces up 13%. Indian ready meals have seen a slump but retail accompaniments are up 11.4%. Mexican food has seen a massive boost over the same period, with an increase in value in all retail sectors.

Emmanuelle Bouvier, Senior Market Analyst at Mintel said: “The current economic climate seems to be impacting on Brits seeking to recreate the restaurant experience at home. The initial establishment of popular favourites Chinese and Indian cuisine have led to a broadening of the market and increased popularity of different types of ethnic food.”

“Stir frys tend to be seen as healthy meal solutions that are also convenient while cooking aids, such as pastes and spices, give consumers the freedom to tailor their meals to their taste, which they cannot do with ready meals.”

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