As Americans approach a second summer with travel precautions in place, a YouGov survey commissioned by Union City, New Jersey-based Deep Indian Kitchen of 2,432 US adults polled online from March 10-12 reveals that consumers are using their weekly grocery trips to explore aisles and cuisines in new ways. The demand for ready-made frozen foods and authentic international recipes is soaring and continues to grow as the need for convenience, flavor variety and wanderlust satisfaction have become high priorities.
Among ethnic flavors to savor, Indian cuisine is a standout with the number of offerings in frozen aisles greatly increasing. In fact, recent IRI data tracking frozen entree, snack and appetizer sales for the 52-week period ending on March 21, 2021, shows retail sales velocity of brands with Indian recipe origin have grown at more than 5X the rate of category averages since the coronavirus pandemic (SARS-CoV-2) began to turn lives upside down one year ago.
According to the survey, the #2 most craved dish among top international options is Chicken Tikka Masala. So what’s behind the cravings? Americans who eat Indian food most often credit its delicious taste (76%) and variety of flavors that deliver a change of pace from their normal routine (60%).
However, it may be surprising to know that about half of those surveyed (49%) only eat Indian food a few times a year or less . So what drives this disconnect and why is Indian cuisine just starting to grow so quickly now?
Sixty-eight percent of Indian food consumers surveyed say at least one of the following factors have been barriers to home consumption, including:
•Lack of authentic options
•Difficult to find and buy
•Hard to prepare well
•Unfamiliar with ingredients, recipes or cooking techniques
•Restaurants make it better
Now that shoppers are discovering scratch-made, restaurant-quality Indian experiences in the frozen aisle, Indian food consumption is growing quickly. As exploration continues both instore and online, and friends share their newfound favorite dishes with one another, its popularity is increase. Sixty-two percent of surveyed Americans say they look to recommendations from friends to inform them about international food choices – either by word of mouth or via social media.
With the fandom over Chicken Tikka Masala, new availability, new omni-channel shopping behaviors and the prevalence of social sharing, it’s likely that the frozen Indian cuisine trend is just getting started.