RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, Australia

Aussies spending more on ethnic restaurants, study says

Data from the NPD Group reveals a near-$700 million increase in consumer spending in the said category since 2009.

Ethnic restaurants, both in quick service and full service, now account for almost $6 billion of consumer spending within the $44 billion Australian foodservice industry, according to a report by the NPD Group.

The results indicate an increase of almost $700 million in spending since 2009, with overall ethnic food sales increased by 13% over the last seven years.

Mexican, Turkish, Indian, Greek and Italian cuisine – categorised by NPD as ‘QSR Other Ethnic’ – has been the fastest growing foodservice category for the last four consecutive years. Sales in this category have reportedly increased by 63% over the last seven years, more than any other outlet category.

The research company attributes the growth to the rise of millennials within the foodservice space, with the age group accounting for more than half (53%) of ethnic fast food visits and generated all of the additional foot traffic to the category over the past twelve months.

Evolving tastes and expectations
“What this research translates to in terms of product is that more complex and sophisticated meals being sought out and consumed, with tastes and expectations continuing to evolve. With such clear demand for new and interesting ethnic cuisines, both manufacturers and operators have an opportunity to lead this discussion and continually innovate their product offering,” says Gimantha Jayasinghe, NPD Deputy Managing Director Asia Pacific.

The research adds that most consumers select their choices based on wanting to try something different, wanting a specific menu item, looking for a hearty meal, satisfying a special taste or craving, and wanting something healthy to eat.

(Also read: Millennials are eating healthier, and what this means for your QSR)

NPD says ethnic fast food is “by far the most popular” among Australian millennials, despite burgers and chicken remaining as the most heavily consumed in that category.

“Foodservice operators seeking to gain more visits and grow their bottom line should carefully consider their offerings to attract those that are seeking to spend within the ethnic food category,” Jayasinghe added.

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