Ethnic foods that are enjoyed out of home set the benchmarks that many consumers aspire to achieve, with prepared ready meals and cooking sauces the usual route to home preparation. It is often difficult for ready meal makers to replicate what is a wide range of taste experiences - even of the same recipe - in their products. Consumers are much more critical of products that fail to match their expectations, often unfairly so, as many ethnic foods are individually prepared to a chef’s own recipe and enjoyed on a night out.
But it does open up a constant opportunity to create new products and tastes for preparing in the home. The restaurant context also makes consumers more willing to consider unknown brands, often with a suitably ethnic background or restaurant heritage, that are often well received and add a fresh dynamic. There is an increasing level of consumer confidence in using ethnic tastes in new forms, such as dressings for salads or marinades for the barbecue.
Average ratings in ethnic ready meals are relatively low. New twists on old favourites are most likely to achieve a high score as they enjoy mainstream appeal.
An attractive takeaway-style pack that set up high expectations. Many were disappointed with the product delivery for a premium price point. Stronger appeal for teens and pre-family.
An individual ready meal that achieved high ratings across all key measures. A mild mainstream flavour; only the bread disappointed.
Sufficiently different to carve a niche in the market. This “great tasting” sauce particularly impressed C2DE respondents who found it well balanced, convenient and versatile.
Put to the test: three recent launches (maximum score 50)Sharwood’s Noodle Box - Hong Kong Sweet & Sour
Category average: 26
Tesco Chicken Masala with Coriander Rice & Roti Bread
Category average: 30
Loyd Grossman Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce
Category average: 35
Produced for The Grocer by Cambridge Fast Foodfax, an independent standardised new product testing service where a sample of 50 consumers rate new products across 10 key performance measures. Maximum score 50. Details on www.fast-foodfax.com.