Pubs and bars ‘missing out’ on oriental food growth

Wing Yip Oriental Food Trends Report 2016

Pubs and bars are missing out on the huge growth of oriental food in the UK, according to a new report published to coincide with Chinese New Year.

The Oriental Food Report from Wing Yip, the UK’s leading oriental grocer, shows that, although 94% of people have eaten Chinese food at home or in a restaurant, very few ever dine out on oriental cuisine in a pub.

Only 7% of oriental food users eat it at pubs at least monthly and most doubt that they will find a credible option on the menu.

Wing Yip commissioned the Oriental Food Report to look at the growing influence of Chinese food and other south-east Asian cuisines in the UK. The independent research was conducted through an online survey of more than 3,000 consumers and also includes commentary from some of the leading players in the oriental food and restaurant sector, as well as input from Horizons and CGA Peach.

The latest data from Horizons backs up the research, highlighting that only 1% of pub menu listings are pan-Asian main courses.

Elsewhere, the consumer appetite for Chinese and oriental food continues to grow. Pan-Asian listings on all branded restaurant menus have increased by 9% over the last three years and there are more than 4,000 Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants in the UK – an 18% growth in the last five years.

Chinese food continues to dominate the favourite meal list with 87% of those who have tried any oriental cuisines eating it nowadays. The most popular oriental dish is sweet and sour chicken with Thai green curry at number two and sushi coming in at number four.

The Wing Yip report highlights that consumer tastes are becoming ever more adventurous with 39% choosing to eat Thai food and 20% Japanese, which is now the UK’s third most popular oriental cuisine.

Supporting this trend, Horizons has reported that sushi is now the most commonly listed pan-Asian dish on branded menus, representing one in four of all pan-Asian menu listings.

With more people holidaying in south-east Asia, the report also highlights that these consumers are motivated by the food and those that have visited are more likely to eat it back in the UK.

Brian Yip, managing director of Wing Yip UK Trading, said: “We started out nearly 50 years ago supplying genuine Chinese ingredients and produce to the restaurant trade, but now through our supermarkets and online store all our customers, including ordinary shoppers, are buying an ever-expanding range of oriental food products from across south-east Asia.

“This report highlights that consumers are becoming far more adventurous in their tastes and whilst the numbers of pan-Asian restaurants are growing, there is an opportunity for pubs to do more and maximise the trading opportunity by offering a wider choice of quality oriental food.”

Wing Yip started supplying restaurants and takeaways in 1970 when the business founder, Wing Yip, identified that the trade had difficulty sourcing authentic Chinese ingredients and produce. Today, through its four superstores in Birmingham, Croydon, Cricklewood and Manchester, together with an online store, Wing Yip stocks over 4,500 products from across south-east Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam and Korean.

Wing Yip’s Oriental Food Report looks at some of the trends and behaviours driving the changes in the marketplace, including Britain’s most popular oriental dishes, how often people eat out at Chinese restaurants, the growth of pan-Asian dishes on mainstream branded restaurant menus, the rising influence of Japanese food, the reasons why oriental cuisines are so popular, how travel influences growing oriental food consumption, and the barriers to cooking oriental food at home.

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