The ethnic snacks market has exploded with a variety of tasty bites in all shapes, textures and formats - for eating alone or for sharing

As a nation of snackers, the British are always keen to find new bite-sized opportunities to fill a hunger gap, and if that happens to be a healthy snack as well, all the better.
Hence the proliferation in recent years of snacks such as sushi and dim sum in supermarket chiller cabinets.
But we also love to share our snacks, as proven by the huge success of larger bags of crisps and confectionery. And now this is spilling over into the ethnic category.
Red Mill Snack Foods’
marketing manager Sarah Nunn says: “As Indian, Italian and Chinese foods became a staple part of the UK diet, these flavours were duly translated into crisps and snacks. We can already see the next wave of food trends - Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese - providing the flavours for a new generation of
ethnic snacks.”
The company has launched its first branded ethnic snack sharing range with tortillas, prawn crackers and mini poppadoms that will compete with brands such as Patak’s, which also offers a range of snacks including chapatti chips, and Bombay crackers.
Supplier of frozen ethnic snacks Daloon confirms that there has been an explosion of party food ranges, with delicacies such as mini spring rolls and mini onion bhajis becoming year-round favourites.
According to TNS [52 w/e September 11, 2005], frozen ethnic snacks expenditure has grown by 13.9% to £24.7m and overall market penetration has increased by 21% year-on-year.
“The frozen ethnic snack market continues to be driven by convenience, multiculturalism, travel, the increasing number of ethnic restaurants and greater ethnic media food coverage,” says Daloon sales and marketing director Geoff Burgess.
“In terms of future development, the signs are very positive. Key Note forecasts that over the next five years the total ethnic food market will show relatively strong levels of growth and Datamonitor predicts that by 2008 snacking will account for 44% of all eating occasions in the UK.”
He adds that the dominant force in ethnic snacks is retailer own label as “in most cases, they form or have formed part of an overall range in-store”. And, as many Far Eastern snack lines are meat-free, they have a tendency to appeal to vegetarians, which Burgess predicts will be a major area for development next year.
Sharwood’s accompaniments include poppadoms, chutneys, pickles and naan bread - and the company says that as consumers become more adventurous and more confident in the kitchen, accompaniments will be an essential part of home-cooked Indian meals as consumers seek to recreate the authentic restaurant experience at home.
Launching as a rival to Sharwood’s has been Loyd Grossman’s range of Indian breads. Andrew Chesters, partner at brand owner Rivermill Foods, says: “The Loyd Grossman Indian breads are, for us, a no-brainer. Currently the offering in this sector is own label and two well-known brands that sit somewhere in the middle in terms of quality. Loyd Grossman definitely occupies the pinnacle of quality in the category.”