15th May 2016
The explosion in the number of Pan-Asian restaurants is driving the growth of Oriental food in the UK, according to a new report.
Wing Yip, the UK’s leading Oriental grocer, commissioned the Oriental Food Report, a comprehensive study of the growing influence of Chinese food and other South East Asian cuisines in the UK.
The report highlights that 94% of a sample of 3,000 people have eaten Chinese food at home as a takeaway or in a restaurant, but very few ever dine out on Oriental cuisine in a pub.
Restaurants, and particularly new openings in and around London, are driving consumption with 70% -80% of those who eat Oriental cuisines, other than Chinese – where the takeaway sector remains a big player – doing so at a restaurant. With relatively few people cooking Oriental food at home, restaurants are critical to the success of the market and there are now more than 4,000 Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants in the UK – an 18% growth in the last five years.
The number of Pan- Asian dishes listed by branded restaurants has also grown by 9% over the last three years.
Chinese food continues to dominate the favourite meal list among 87% of those who have tried any Oriental cuisines. 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 – now the UK’s third most popular Oriental cuisine.
Sushi is now the most commonly listed Pan-Asian dish on branded menus, representing one in four of all pan Asian menu listings – up from 14% two years ago.
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 the region are more likely to eat it back in the UK.
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 4500 products from across South East Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam and Korea.
“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 customers are buying an ever-expanding range of Oriental food products from across South East Asia,” said Wing Yip MD Brian Yip, adding, ““This report highlights that consumers are becoming far more adventurous in their tastes and with the number of pan Asian restaurants growing, including some exciting new concepts, the future looks bright for the sector.”