Recession creates a nation of home curry cooks

As recession bites, more people are creating their favourite ethnic dishes at home, new research reveals.

Recession creates a nation of home curry cooks

Mintel’s new Ethnic Cuisine UK report finds that the nation’s favourite ethnic food is Chinese, with 83% of those surveyed saying it was the cuisine they preferred most. Indian food came second, scoring 71%.

However, Mintel says sales of Indian cuisine overtook Chinese by £189m in the last year, which it says suggests that people are favouring cooking Indian food at home in the kitchen. It adds that while six in 10 adults enjoy ethnic food, they are ditching the ready meals for their own healthier versions.

The report says that four in 10 adults who eat ethnic food enjoy it at home once a month, and one in 10 eat it twice or more in the week. Indeed, 62% said that cooking ethnic food at home was cheaper than getting a takeaway, and 36% said cooking ethnic food at home tasted just as good as having a takeaway. Only 6% claim to never eat ethnic food.

Chinese stir fry sales went up 37% over the last two years, while cooking sauces for Chinese food are up 13%. Indian food has seen a slump in the ready meal sector, with sales down 2.6% from 2006, but conversely there has been an 11.4% rise in the retail value of accompaniments in the last two years.

Combined, Indian and Chinese account for 70% of the ethnic food market. Relative newcomer to the market Mexican food has also increased in popularity, growing by 20% over the last two years.

Emmanuelle Bouvier, senior market analyst at Mintel, commented: “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.”

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