All the major retailers are upping the ante in their ethnic offerings. Somerfield and Kwik Save have just launched 160 branded authentic food products across 400 stores nationwide. The ranges will include essentials such as rice, spices, lentils and pulses, as well as niche products such as cassava, plantain chips, saffron paneer and south Indian meal kits.
Hament Kotadia, category buying director, says: “It is important for Somerfield and Kwik Save to cater for a wider consumer base, particularly in multicultural areas such as Birmingham, Bradford and key parts of London. We are a shop with a point of difference.”
The growth of the ethnic range will be backed with in-store tastings, door-to-door leafleting and specific satellite community TV channel ads. The company says that as the tastebuds of the British consumer become more adventurous, this key category has achieved 44% volume growth year-on-year.
Asda has also upped its presence in the ethnic aisles. It has been working with S&A Foods to completely redevelop its Indian chilled ready meal range and 92 new products hit the shelves in September. The overhaul took in the entire range, including the takeaway counter, takeaway bags, takeaway pick and mix and pre-packed ready meals.
The company even created a new role - ethnic manager - for continuous development of the category. “The introduction of the role of ethnic manager earlier this year demonstrates the value Asda places on its ethnic customer base,” says the incumbent, Victoria Collinson. “Growth is very strong, driven by current ranges reaching a wider ethnic audience, mainstream customers buying them more and extensions of ranges and stores.”
She says Asda recognises the need for national and local brands and has several local ethnic ranges in London stores, including Port Royal Jamaican Patties and Mama’s Pot African Ready meals.
Asda has also extended listings of chilled ready meals company Mumtaz’s product range, while Morrisons has also increased distribution of the meals through its Safeway stores.
Morrisons points out that it has a comprehensive range of ethnic foods. “Ethnic origin products are available in our Eat Smart, Ready to Cook, Steam and Serve and The Best range as well as traditional ethnic ranges,” it says.
This month, it relaunched its Oriental Ready Meal & Snack range with new products and packaging. Morrisons says its Indian Ready Meals House Specials range is very popular and it frequently refreshes it with new dishes.