linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
also of interest...


  Ethnic Food Brands: A Guide to the World on a Shelf   Ethnic Food Brands: A Guide to the World on a Shelf  Barry Silverstein  
Ethnic Food Brands: A Guide to the World on a Shelf The result is a boon to brands that capitalize on cuisine indigenous to a country or region. Italian, Hispanic and Asian food brands are especially in vogue, but there is a surprisingly strong interest in kosher and halal brands as well. Some of the growth is driven by the increasing number of restaurants specializing in ethnic cuisine and the international flair of celebrity chefs. Some of it derives from more adventurous eating by consumers. And some of it is due to a widespread belief (not always accurate) that many ethnic cuisines are somehow “healthier.”

In the United States, arguably the largest ethnic food market in the world, US$ 1 out of every US$ 7 spent on groceries goes toward ethnic food (Euromonitor International, 2006). Ethnic food in the US is a US$ 75 billion annual business. Mexican cuisine is and continues to remain the country’s most popular ethnic food segment, according to Datamonitor. The next largest food segments are Chinese, kosher and non-Chinese Asian.

Part of the popularity of ethnic food brands is due to America’s changing demographics. Hispanics and Asians are the fastest-growing segments of the population, according to the US Census Bureau. In the past ten years, each segment has grown about one-third, but in the next forty years, the Asian population is projected to grow faster than the Hispanic population.

Spain and Germany are seeing growth of 30 percent annually in ethnic food, according to Food From Britain, a research firm in the UK. A few years ago, the fastest-growing European market for ethnic foods was the Netherlands, the firm says. Sweden was Europe’s number-one consumer of Mexican food.

One beneficiary of the worldwide growth of ethnic food brands is the Hispanic brand Goya. Founded in 1936 in New York City by immigrants from Spain, Goya is today the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States. The Goya brand, with more than 1,500 product offerings, often occupies multiple shelves in grocery stores. In 2005 alone, Goya added over 400 new products.

Goya has adopted the approach that Latino foods should be segmented further into country-oriented cuisine, because that’s the way Hispanics identify themselves. As a result, the company markets products from the Caribbean, Mexico, Spain, and Central and South America. The company manufactures and distributes its products from the US, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Spain.

The Asian food brand segment has seen strong growth not just in the United States, but also worldwide. In the UK, for example, the leading ethnic foods for years have been Indian and Chinese. But other Asian cuisines are on the rise. UK market research publisher Key Note says that some of the fastest-growing ethnic foods are Malaysian, Japanese and Indonesian.

One leading brand in the European market, Daloon (which means “The Great Dragon” in Chinese), got its start in Denmark. Sai-chiu Van, of Chinese origin, traveled to Denmark to study agriculture, but he remained there and founded Daloon in 1960. He began by making spring rolls in the basement of his Copenhagen home. Today the company operates from two factories in Denmark, offices in the UK and a subsidiary in Germany. Daloon sells Chinese, Indian and Thai products in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia. It also exports to Austria, France, Spain and Switzerland.

In the US, more than half the Asian population is concentrated in just three states—California, New York and Texas—but Asian food is widely popular. Chinese, Japanese and Thai food brands have long been considered mainstream, but now Vietnamese, Indonesian and Korean brands are also popular.

Cosmos Food was a quiet forty-year-old California producer of kimchi, a Korean delicacy, when David Kim purchased the company in 2002. Since then, the company’s business has “more than doubled, in part because it went mainstream: Its products now line the shelves of Costcos across California and Wal-Marts across America” (“Cosmos Food Co., fermenting revolution with its kimchi,” Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2009). Cosmos now runs the country’s largest kimchi factory.

Indian food brands have proven to be especially popular in the past few years. Hain Celestial Group, a US$ 1 billion company based in the United States, markets numerous food brands in North America and Europe. One brand, Ethnic Gourmet, features frozen meals and sauces in four categories: Thai, Indian, Malaysian and Greek. The Indian line is the leader, with ten frozen products and four simmer sauces. Ethnic Gourmet products are not only exotic in taste, they are also all natural—a powerful brand attribute in today’s health-conscious consumer market.

One of the more interesting ethnic food growth areas is rooted in a cultural concern for freshness and cleanliness. Kosher and halal foods, prepared in accordance with Jewish and Muslim dietary laws, respectively, are finding audiences beyond their ethnic base because of their perceived health benefits. “According to Packaged Facts’ new report, ‘MarketTrend: Kosher- and Halal-Certified Foods in the U.S.,’ sales of certified kosher foods through grocery stores swelled from nearly US$ 150 billion in 2003 to more than US$ 200 billion in 2008, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate twice that of the overall food market” (Progressive Grocer, April 17, 2009).

Hebrew National, a kosher brand, was founded in 1905 by Isadore Pinckowitz, a Jewish Romanian immigrant who sold kosher sausages and hot dogs to New York’s deli restaurants. In 1965, the company became widely known for its ad campaign that used the slogan “We Answer to a Higher Authority.” The brand continues to this day to promote the fact that its meats do not contain artificial coloring, by-products, artificial flavoring or fillers—factors appealing to both kosher and non-kosher households. Today owned by food giant ConAgra, Hebrew National remains a highly recognized brand and one of the leading kosher meat processors in the world.

Al Safa Halal, a Canadian company, distributes chicken, turkey, beef, pizza and falafel products to stores serving Muslim communities in Canada and the United States. Mekkafood is a market leader in halal deep-frozen products, with locations in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The company recently expanded, adding a new production facility in Holland and adding lahmacun (Turkish pizza) to their lineup.

The popularity of ethnic food brands is giving rise to an emerging market for ethnic store brands and even ethnically-focused stores. For example, Stop & Shop, a leading chain of supermarkets in the northeastern United States, launched MiCasa, a Latino store brand, in an effort to compete with Goya. US retailer Walmart announced in March that it will open two Supermercado de Walmart stores targeting Hispanic customers in Phoenix, Arizona and Houston, Texas.

It’s all part of an ongoing retail effort to put the world on a shelf.     



Barry Silverstein has been a frequent brandchannel contributor since 2007. He has thirty years of advertising and marketing experience and is currently a freelance writer and marketing consultant. He founded and ran his own direct marketing agency and held executive positions with Epsilon, a leading database marketing firm and Arnold, a major ad agency. Silverstein is the author of three marketing books, including the McGraw-Hill book, The Breakaway Brand, which he co-authored with Arnold CEO Fran Kelly.

 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 71 )  email

Ethnic Food Brands: A Guide to the World on a Shelf
 Australia has a large and growing market for ethnic food and even supermarket chains. It's not uncommon for every new suburb that sprouts in Perth to have a Prime (Indian supermarket) alongside a Woolies. I don't believe the local ethnic population is enough to support these developments, it shows a real shift in eating habits and patterns of people the world over. 
Banu Kannu, Writer - May 11, 2009
 As the world continues to shrink, and our desire and drive for knowledge, experiences, and authenticity continues to rapidly increase this will lead to a growing and common psychographic across the world. The continued internationalising of communities and their palates means that ethnic or world food offerings will increasingly affect most major segments across the global retail food industry in both the short and long term. There's a convergence of convenience, all-natural, healthier, gourmet and authentic ethnic that's going on, and I don't believe these can be viewed separately. I believe the consumer will want the choice to explore many more cuisines than before and will also wish to dig even deeper into those that they are already familiar. It's an exciting category which is large and growing, but really has a lot more sophistication and developments yet to come if the true and still somewhat untapped potential for the mainstreaming of ethnic foods to be unlocked! 
Sunil Sitlani, Co-Founder - May 14, 2009
  brandchannel home archive   2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010  | 2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
Dec 18, 2009 The Networked Boomer Woman: Hear Us Roar -- Mya Frazier
  Boomer women now spending on themselves.
Sep 14, 2009 Brand Engagement: Packaging Service Brands -- Randall Frost
  Why brands and employees must share values.
Sep 7, 2009 After the Fall: What Really Happens to Bankrupt Brands -- Barry Silverstein
  How dead brands live through licensing.
Aug 31, 2009 Guerilla Event Marketing—A Mob in a Flash -- Jennifer Gidman
  Mob mentality connects with advertisers.
Aug 24, 2009 Small Country, Big Brands -- Barry Silverstein
  Swiss brands adapt to a changing world.
Aug 17, 2009 Farmwashing: Big Food’s Branding Woes...Again -- Mya Frazier
  Food brands farm out idyllic perceptions.
Aug 10, 2009 How Sports Brands Create Brand Fanatics -- Barry Silverstein
  Sports brands score with fans.
Aug 3, 2009 2009 brandcameo Product Placement Awards Survey
  Readers react to product placements in this year's number one films.
Jul 27, 2009 Targeting Tots: How Brands Connect with Children -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Brands understand the power of children.
Jul 20, 2009 Rebranding: Looking Beyond Logos in India
  Why some Indian Brands brand beyond logos.
Jul 13, 2009 Brandinavia: Why Nordic Brands Rule -- Barry Silverstein
  How Scandinavia’s Viking roots empower its brands.
Jul 6, 2009 Nouveau Niche: Targeting African Immigrants in the US -- Mya Frazier
  The US’s newest untapped demographic.
Jun 29, 2009 What Now for the Money Brands? -- Barry Silverstein
  Financial brands invest in the future.
Jun 22, 2009 Cleared for Landing? Airline Brands and China -- Laura Fitch
  Can airline brands spread their wings in China?
Jun 15, 2009 African Diamond Brands: Romancing the Stone -- A.K. Cabel
  Can African diamonds cut the cultural glass ceiling?
Jun 8, 2009 Beer Wars: Branding Lessons of the Independents -- Mya Frazier
  Independent beer brands take a stand.
Jun 1, 2009 New Opportunities for Healthcare Brands -- Barry Silverstein
  Healthcare brands learn to operate in the future.
May 25, 2009 Why Brands Have an Eye on Facebook - Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Brands want to friend Facebook.
May 18, 2009 By Design: Luxury Brands in China -- Laura Fitch
  Can luxury brands take mainland China?
May 4, 2009 The Purchasing Power of Middle Eastern Moms
  Appreciating the Middle Eastern mother demographic.
Apr 27, 2009 Can Brand Loyalty Be Bought? -- Barry Silverstein
  A faithful look at consumer loyalty.
Apr 20, 2009 Risky Business: When Personalities Promote Brands -- Mya Frazier
  Branding is personal for some employees.
Apr 13, 2009 Made in Japan: The Culture Behind the Brand -- Chauncey Zalkin
  How Japanese people make Japanese Brands.
Apr 6, 2009 Marketing Strategies that Build Value -- Barry Silverstein
  How new ideas create old-school value.
Mar 30, 2009 Trade Shows: Where Brands Make a Stand -- Asher Levine
  How brands represent at trade shows.
Mar 23, 2009 Brandchannel’s 2009 brandjunkie awards results -- Jim Thompson
  The 2009 brandjunkie results are in!
Mar 16, 2009 Packaging: Lessons from Tropicana’s Fruitless Design -- Jennifer Gidman
  Tropicana gets squeezed by loyal customers.
Mar 9, 2009 Franchise Brands: More than a Logo -- Barry Silverstein
  Franchise brands cross cultures.
Mar 2, 2009 BRIC Beauty Brands Looking Good -- Ana Paula Palombo Terzi
  BRIC brands smell of success.
Feb 23, 2009 Magazine Brands: A Niche for Success -- Barry Silverstein
  Magazine brands are bound to niche readers.
Feb 16, 2009 Celebrity Brands: Extending 15 Minutes of Fame -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Can beauty alone make a brand?
Feb 9, 2009 Detroit’s Big Three: Car Brands in a Pile-Up -- Dale Buss
  US car brands’ crash course in brand engagement.
Feb 2, 2009 Airlines 2.0: Online Technologies Take Off in a Recession -- Shashank Nigam
  Airline brands buckle up for economic turbulence.
Jan 26, 2009 The Big Three in ED: Pharma Brands Get in the Mood -- Barry Silverstein
  The ABCs of ED pills.
Jan 19, 2009 Peanut Butter Brands Go Nuts -- Jennifer Gidman
  These peanut butter brands stick together.
Jan 12, 2009 Portuguese Brands: Why the Past is the Future -- Joe Ray
  Old school brands teach new branding lessons.
Jan 5, 2009 Brand Extensions: Risks and Rewards -- Barry Silverstein
  Can brand extensions reach budgeting consumers?