|November 23, 2004, as reported
by just-food.com: Asian foods are big in Australia as younger
consumers choose the healthier perceived meals over more traditional
fastfood options. The Australian market for ethnic food is currently
worth A$6bn (US$4.7bn), of which $3.8bn consists of consumer spending
in restaurants and takeaways and $2.2bn represents spending in supermarkets
and other retail outlets, according to a new report. Australian business
research and forecasting firm BIS Shrapnel says its research shows
that Australian taste buds now prefer Asian cuisine.
A survey of 1,250 consumers carried out for the Ethnic Foods in Australia,
2004 to 2007 study suggested that the most frequently eaten ethnic
cuisine types in Australia are Chinese, followed by Italian (excluding
pizza), Thai, sushi and Indian.
Around 40% of restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney are Asian restaurants,
against around 13% Italian restaurants, although this partly reflects
the ethnic mix of the population.
Survey data suggests that the frequency of eating out at ethnic
food venues decreases with the age of the consumer, from five times
a month in the 18–24 age group, to four times for the 25–34
segment and three times a month for people aged 65 plus.
However, in 2004, consumer expenditure on ethnic foods in supermarkets
and specialist retail outlets is expected to be dominated by European
food products which account for 58.8% of purchases in the retail
environment. Asian cuisine amounts to 33.5% of total consumer expenditure
on ethnic foods, followed by Mexican at 7.4% and Middle East and
other types at only 0.3%.
In recent years, major supermarket chains such as Coles and Woolworths
are increasingly stocking ethnic food ingredients. However, Coles
is slightly ahead of the game in better catering for new ethnic
food trends, BIS Shrapnel said. The exception is in the ready-to-eat
segment where customers purchase in equal measure from Coles and
Ethnic food expenditure in retail outlets is expected to rise to
$2.7bn by 2007. BIS Shrapnel predicts that Asian and Mexican food
products will record the highest growth in the retail sector, with
European products now considered to be mainstream and unlikely to
grow much faster than overall food consumption.