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US Immigration Has Influenced Sales of Ethnic Foods

Tonight, I'm cooking curry — and it looks like I'm not the only one. Sales of ethnic foods have hit an unprecedented high of $2.1 billion this year. According to market research firm Mintel, this segment has increased by more than 17 percent in the last five years.

Mintel conducted a survey in which "ethnic food" encompassed Asian and Mexican products, as well as other ingredients such as chutneys and noodles. Mexican food comprises the largest percentage of purchases at 62 percent, but Indian and Asian foods have each grown 11 percent between 2006 and 2008. The cause? More than a million immigrants have become permanent legal US residents since 2005, "piquing Americans' interest in new cuisines," according to a Mintel analyst.

Perhaps the staggering sales numbers and statistics will prove to be an auspicious sign; incidentally, today happens to also be World Food Day. Have Americans' palates become more open to the culinary ways of the world? How often do you cook ethnic food at home?

Source: Flickr User avlxyz

Food Food 8 years
Niami, Ethiopian food is aaaaamaaaazzzzinggg!
Niami Niami 8 years
Going gluten-free has booted me out of a long food rut of pizza, hamburgers, fast food and crappy take out. There are a lot of ethnic foods that are naturally gluten free, especially Indian food. I have started experimenting with Thai and Indian and so far haven't cooked up any duds. I heard Ethiopian is a great source of gluten-free meals as well.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
Let's see... this week we made Mexican, Chinese, Irish, German, and Italian foods. There was also hot dog night!
zeze zeze 8 years
I just discovered how easy and yummy it is to make Indian Samosas at home (so cheap too!) - I've been making them nonstop and the family can't get enough, I might be the reason for this spike! :D I used to buy a bag of 35 for like $5, now just a few potatoes, can of peas, come premixed Indian Biryani spices, spring rolls and viola! I have at least a hundred.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
It's not exactly rocket-science...lots of people in the US immigrated here or they have close relatives that did, so of course they're going to eat familiar foods. I never really noticed the sales of ethnic food going up, but I have noticed that there is a better selection of ethnic foods at the grocery stores, which is nice. Also, a lot more Asian and Latino grocery stores are popping up, which I totally love because they always have such great stuff and it's always super cheap.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
LOL Syako I thought the same thing. Since most of us have immigrant ancestors (whether we're 2nd, 3rd etc. generation), we've been eating "ethnic" foods pretty much all our lives.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
That Indian food looks good!
syako syako 8 years
:rotfl: Sigh. Yes, that must be the only reason sales have spiked. Great research... These Mintel analysts might want to retake their research design/stats 101 classes... On another note, it's interesting that the sales have spiked.
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
living in CA, I think it's ironic that Mexican food is considered ethnic considering they were here first. On the other hand, I think it's great more people are eating more diverse foods. It drives me crazy when I dine with friends who aren't willing to try something new
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