Fusions of ethnic foods and twists on traditional dishes are increasingly popular.
Tradition with a twist

In a world that seems to embrace an “innovate or die” mentality, many consumers still gravitate toward familiar food and drink offerings.

For example, 67% of Chinese adults between the ages of 20 to 49 who purchased breakfast items in the past three months said they preferred more traditional Chinese breakfast soups, congees, wontons and noodles to newer options, both Chinese and Western. In home cooking, many consumers globally, such as 25% of Brazilian households surveyed, tend to stick to familiar family or regional recipes.

However, opportunity abounds in the realm of tweaking these traditional dishes, particularly in areas outside of the food’s origin. Twenty-nine per cent of adults in the U.K. who have recently eaten or are interested in trying ethnic food reported an interest in Asian fusion dishes such as a mix of Chinese and Indian cuisines. In Canada, 39% of adults labeled fusion dishes that combine two or more types of different ethnic items or ingredients as “authentic” and a positive selling point.

For some consumers, tradition is not enough — they want legend. According to Mintel, there was a 269% increase in global food and drink launches describing their products as “ancient” between the September 2010 to August 2011 and September 2015 to August 2016 periods. This includes not only ancient grains but also recipes, preparation methods and traditions seen as pre-modern. Brands have seen a great deal of success in appealing to customers looking to connect with the past through their eating choices.