Have you ever heard of the Travel Channel television show, “Bizzare Foods?” Well, it’s not only the program’s host Andrew Zimmern who’s hungry for the taste of the exotic. In fact, according to two recent studies conducted by Mintel and the other by NPD, there’s a rise in adventurous eaters seeking to try different ethnic foods aside from the “big three” — Mexican, Chinese and Italian.
In the Mintel study, researchers cited data from their 2009 and 2010 “Global New Products Database” and found that there was a rapid growth in retail items with the descriptive words such as like, “Japanese,” “Caribbean,” and “Thai” evidencing consumers stepping out of their comfort zones when it came to cuisine. Actually, the word, “Japanese” had increased 230 percent and “Caribbean” at 150 percent more than years prior. And last summer, T.G.I. Friday’s introduced their Caribbean-style ribs.
New York based consumer research group, NPD, also cited a 3 percent increase in the term, “Japanese” in a survey that asked consumers what ethnic flavors were present in the food items they ordered.
Although there are still a somewhat slower tap into these different cuisines in the foodservice industry, there are still a growing number of restaurants seeking to expand their culinary spectrum. Take Boston Market, for instance, who serves two exotic sauces — a Sweet Thai Chili Garlic sauce and a Caribbean Island Mojo sauce. Mimi’s Cafe also introduced something very different; a Thai Chicken Noodle Bowl.
Blog, restaurant trends