The World Food aisles aren’t the daunting places they once were for Brit shoppers, thanks to the likes of Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and the Hairy Bikers. All these celebrities’ recipes are a click away online, along with more from BBC Good Food and the rest.
In the words of Sally Campbell at Geeta’s Foods, the UK’s ongoing world food revolution has led to a broadening of our classic three meals a day pattern, with informal dining, sharing plates, small plates, street food and eating away from home continuing to grow in popularity. Combined with the greater focus on health and the obesity crisis, this has led consumers to focus on the quality of the food they are eating rather than the quantity or price. Brit consumers are also waking up to the fact that world food can be healthy as well as tasty, with dishes like Chicken Jalfrezi containing 2 of their 5 a day and a dose of vitamin C.
Many world food suppliers start out supplying consumers in their ethnic group and gradually broaden their appeal. The key to real growth is to please the ethnic audience but also appeal to UK consumers’ tastes for excitement and spice.
The growing company Ethnic Foods Direct (EFD UK) works with procurers, processors and marketers of Indian products worldwide to produce their Masalawaala spice mixes, added to vegetables or meat to create traditional authentic Indian dishes in just a few minutes. Importantly in today’s market the mixes are vegetarian, vegan, Halal, gluten and dairy free, ticking all the boxes. Geeta’s Foods’ growth from its beginnings as a small chutney maker to a world food supplier with a broad product base has primarily come from UK consumers embracing new food trends and products that were once the preserve of ethnic consumers.
Interestingly Geeta’s also report a recent increase in ethnic consumers buying Geeta’s Premium Mango Chutney, which was once primarily bought by UK consumers, following consumer activity based on product trial. Social media feedback indicates the drivers are authenticity and flavour delivery.
At the other end of the scale are suppliers like Schwartz and Grace Foods. Grace Foods UK, the UK’s leading supplier of Caribbean food and drink, was established in 2007 following the acquisition of WT Foods by GraceKennedy, a US$1bn global consumer goods and finance group based in Kingston, Jamaica. Today Grace Foods is is one of the UK’s most progressive food companies, supplying a market-leading range of speciality and world food brands to the retail, wholesale and foodservice sectors throughout the UK and Europe.
Now part of global food company McCormick, Schwartz is a major brand with a 100-year heritage, importing and marketing food and ingredients from round the world. Schwartz has launched a Street Food Seasonings range in response to the growing consumer trend for world foods and the rise of popularity of street food markets targeting adventurous millennials seeking quick, easy and tasty meal ideas for scratch cooking.