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75% of Canadians test other cultures through food, report says


Punjabi VeggieMaster Pizza Photo courtesy Pizza Master Fusion

London, UK – Three quarters of consumers like to experience other cultures through food, according to new research from Mintel.

A new report from research firm Mintel, “Ethnic Foods and Flavours Canada 2016,” suggests more than half of Canadians are more open to trying ethnic foods now than they were a few years ago as 72 per cent of consumers turn to ethnic-inspired dishes to break the monotony at mealtime.

Among the findings:

  • Ethnic-inspired foods such as Chinese (89 per cent), Italian (84 per cent) and Latin American/Mexican (82 per cent) are the most commonly eaten by Canadians
  • Only 20 per cent of Canadians have tried African-inspired food, but half are interested in doing so.
  • Although just one third of consumers have eaten Southeast Asian food, but 44 per cent are interested in trying a Southeast Asian dish.

Interestingly, the survey found 61 per cent of Canadians try ethnic-inspired foods at restaurants before preparing them at home. More than one third say making ethnic foods is intimidating and two in five say that it is difficult finding ingredients to make ethnic-inspired dishes.

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“While consumers are willing to try a wide range of ethnic dishes, intimidation over ingredients and cooking methods are getting in the way of consumers preparing these meals at home,” said Joel Gregoire, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “Brands can appeal to hesitant Canadians by partnering with ethnic-inspired restaurants, as consumers trust the knowledge and expertise of restaurants when it comes to ethnic foods and may be receptive to retail ethnic-inspired products showcasing a foodservice influence.”

Another innovation that about 40 per cent of consumers show interest in exploring fusion foods, which cross flavours from different countries and regions.

“Consumers are giving brands the green light to provide offerings that blend cultures and showcase that they are not entrenched in the old ways of cooking,” Gregoire said.