Ethnic Foods: The Halal Trend

Further growth is projected within the European halal foods market.

By analyst Jonathan Thomas

The influence of ethnic cuisine remains strong upon Western Europe’s food industry. This is especially apparent in market sectors such as ready meals, sauces and snack foods, where consumer demand for novel and exotic tastes and flavors continues to increase. Although the European market for ethnic foods is still dominated by traditional favorites such as Indian, Chinese, Mexican and dishes sourced from other parts of Asia (e.g. Thailand), the expansion of the category has led to the emergence of more foods based on cuisines such as Japanese, African, Caribbean and Latin American.

Europe’s largest markets for ethnic foods are the UK, France and Germany. Much of this is due to population size and spending power, as well as the sizeable presence of ethnic minorities within these countries – for example, the 2011 Census in the UK recorded the presence of over 3 million people of South Asian origin, a region defined as including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Demand for ethnic foods is also determined to a large extent by colonial heritage, with the UK home to approximately 9,000 Indian restaurants and takeaways. Other examples include the widespread popularity of Mexican and Indonesian cuisine amongst Spanish and Dutch consumers respectively.

In addition to the aforementioned cuisines, the European ethnic foods market is also widening to incorporate varieties such as halal and kosher....

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