UK consumers desire a taste for the exotic

July 18, 2017
3 min read

Top Banana KetchupUK consumers are in love with the exotic. The British have been exposed to a growing variety of global cuisines following years of overseas travel and immigration. So much so, that their appetite for foreign flavours has increased, with many consumers looking beyond the established Chinese and Indian cuisines to innovation emerging in foodservice and retail channels. The repertoire of foreign cuisines is expanding as consumers become more adventurous: in a three month period, more than a fifth of British adults claim to have eaten at least seven different types of global cuisines at home, as opposed to at restaurants or from take-aways.

This is having a significant impact on the table sauces market, which is often one of the first categories to adopt new food trends, and where traditional favourites are falling out of favour. Sales of traditional condiments and dressings are being affected, suggesting that manufacturers must evolve to ensure the category remains relevant going forward.Korean Chilli Sauce

Innovate around emerging cuisines

Experimenting with a wider range of ethnic flavours will help table sauce brands stay on the menu in the UK, but where should flavour innovation focus? Brits are swapping their usual Chinese and Indian with trendier fare, driven by an insatiable desire to try new dishes.

Mexican food, in particular, is enjoying a renaissance in the UK thanks to the growth of popular restaurant chains. While the cuisine has been a fixture in the country for some time, most consumers were previously only familiar with Tex-Mex, rather than authentic Mexican dishes, with the latter now the focus of foodservice operators, retailers, and table sauce brands. There is currently strong potential to innovate around other popular Mexican condiments, such as tomatillo salsa, mole, Salsa Roja – a blend of tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic, and coriander – and Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Árbol – a peanut and chilli sauce popular in the Chiapas region of Mexico.Holy Molé with Smoky Chilli Kick

Looking to Asian cuisines, Mintel consumer research shows that there are opportunities to focus on Korean- and Vietnamese-inspired sauces in the UK. Sriracha already has a presence in the market, and is associated with both Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, but there remain opportunities to explore other flavours. The Vietnamese dipping sauce nuoc cham could also appeal with its blend of sweet, spicy, and sour flavours, while another Korean condiment – ssamjang – could take off given its association with Korean barbeque.

David Turner, Vice President of Research, APAC, joined Mintel in 2012. During a 20-year career in the food and drink industry, he has gained commercial experience in CPG and foodservice markets, leading the brand and private label marketing activity for major dairy, foodservice and spirits brands.

David Turner
David Turner

David is Vice President of Content, APAC, at Mintel. He provides insights on the latest innovation, market shifts and consumer trends across Asia Pacific and globally.

More from Mintel
  • Mintel Store
    Mintel Store
    Get smart fast with our exclusive market research reports, delivering the latest data, innovation, trends and strategic recommendations....
    View reports
  • Mintel Leap
    Mintel Leap is a revolutionary new AI-powered platform that will transform your research process....
    Book a demo
Subscribe to Mintel Spotlight
Related articles
April 12, 2024
Head over to Mintel’s LinkedIn to let us know what you think of today’s episode, and visit to become a member of our free Spotlight community.
March 25, 2024
Changing consumer preferences are driving a profound transformation in ingredient innovation in the food and drink industry. The upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasised the importance of…
August 22, 2023
Head over to Mintel’s LinkedIn to let us know what you think of today’s episode, and visit to become a member of our free Spotlight community.

Download the Latest Market Intelligence