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Indian and Chinese recipes are favourites but Thai, Korean and Japanese growing fast

UK shoppers are increasingly cooking international dishes at home to save money – and experimenting with adventurous flavours from across the globe.

Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket, has revealed that sales of ingredients and meal kits for a range of global cuisines have been consistently rising in the last year, as customers look for alternatives to takeaways and learn to cook their own versions at home.

Ingredients to make familiar favourites like Indian curry are top of the charts, increasing by 33%, with items to cook a Chinese meal second – up by 32%. However, pan-Asian products to help make Korean, Japanese or Thai meals are also up by 15%. And Caribbean meal kits and ingredients are also high in the charts, up 14% over the last year.

The demand for global ingredients as part of the cooking-at-home trend has been so strong that Tesco has extended its range of World Foods in existing stores by 35% to satisfy customer demand. The grocer has also introduced World Foods displays in 8% more stores.

To help customers looking to cook at home find great value, Tesco has launched its largest ever promotion for the category, with almost 2,000 products offered at a 20% discount for customers with a Clubcard until August 8.

Shoppers have been stocking up on basmati rice for Indian cooking, as well as record sales of Tesco chapatti flour, as customers make their own versions of the flatbread that is popular with curry.

The trend for pan-Asian cooking at home has been fuelled by increasing sales of spice pastes used to make authentic Thai cuisine, such as Thai green curries, pad Thai noodles and Massaman curries.

Tesco customers have also been experimenting more with meal kits to make themselves delicious treats like Donburi rice bowls or Yakisoba noodles from Japan, and Bibimbap, which is a Korean rice dish.

Tesco has been offering inspiration to encourage its customers to continue to experiment with new global dishes, with in-aisle displays in recent months featuring Middle Eastern, Latin American, Japanese & Korean foods. The current theme highlights Caribbean food and features products from celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott.

Abigail Wilkinson, Tesco Category Buying Manager for cooking ingredients and global cuisine, said: “We have seen a significant trend for customers looking to save money by cooking for themselves, rather than eating out as much. And they are being more adventurous in the kind of meals they are cooking at home. 

“Shoppers are buying more ingredients or kits to make popular classics like curry or Chinese stir fry, but we’ve also seen them branching out into cuisines such as Japanese, Thai or Korean. We are trying to expand our offering to meet this demand and to inspire home cooks with new ingredients and kits to help them to feel confident in making something new and delicious.”

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