Gone is the time when a good curry was the order of the day for most Brits - new research has now shown that our preference for a bit of international food is nudging towards Asia.
A survey was carried out whereby 83 per cent of participants put their love of Chinese food before the intensely spiced cuisine of India. Also, given the choice, it seems people would sooner opt for the Peking duck rather than a lamb balti, with a third of people popping to their local Chinese restaurant compared to 30 per cent of those heading to the curry house in the last 12 months.
In the Ethnic Cuisine survey taken by Mintel, results found that in the last year Brits have spent £1.32 billion on foreign cooking. Experts predict this figure will rise to £1.52 billion by 2013 due to shifts in society like more female workers, increased numbers of twenty-something shoppers and people living on their own.
However, India leads the way in the local supermarket, with with consumers spending £556 million on their cuisine compared to £367 million on Chinese food. Overall however, revenue only crawled up one per cent for Indian and Chinese food, with sales dropping from 77 per cent in 2003 to 70 per cent last year, as shoppers branch out and try food from different cultures.
Next in line dominating our taste buds is Mexican food, with a 20 per cent increase on sales, but overall foods from Asia commanded the market.
Meals and ingredients used for South-east Asia cuisine like, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean went up by 46 per cent to £17 million. Japanese cooking lept up by 44 per cent to £13 million while Cajun and Caribbean food increased by 7 per cent.
Mintel also established an increasing trend of cooking at home in order to counteract the economic downturn as well as attempts to eat healthier - 62 per cent of adults noted the money saving possibilities of cooking at home rather than getting a takeaway while 61 per cent - an increase of 6 per cent - have stated a penchant for cooking and experimenting with new cuisines.
Over a third of people taking part considered their own attempts at cooking to be just as flavoursome as a takeaway.
Between 2007 and 2008, sales of Chinese stir fry ingredients went up by 37 per cent, with Chinese cooking sauces going up 13 per cent as ready meal sales decreased by 7 per cent. With Indian foods, spices and accompaniments shot up 11 per cent, as ready meals dropped by 2 pe cent.
Emanuelle Bouvier, a senior market analyst at Mintel said, “The 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.
“Stir fries tend to be seen as healthy meal solutions that are also convenient while cooking aids, such as pastes and spices, give consumers the freedom to tailor their meals to their taste, which they cannot do with ready meals.”
The group who enjoyed the largest proportion of ethnic cuisine was those aged 25-44. However, some of us are keener on traditional British grub, with 6 per cent of participants stating they never eat foreign food.