Once treated with a degree of trepidation, international dishes are now a consistent part of diets and menus across the UK – making it a lucrative market for wholesalers and cash and carries.
The popularity of Chinese cuisine, for example, is now cemented in British culture. However, new and exciting restaurant launches in the world’s best-loved cities have recently given Asian cuisine a fresh profile as exclusive fine dining eateries in New York, Paris and London raise the standard and reputation of Pan-Asian cuisines.
As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of world foods and alternative ingredients entering the market, as Brian Yip, Director of Wing Yip, the Oriental wholesaler, can confirm. “Asian food is a good case in point; as curries and stir-fries become increasingly mainstream and a staple part of consumers’ basic cooking repertoire, new dishes are entering the market and growing in popularity such as Pad Thai and Ramen.
“Increasingly, shelf space is being made for delicacies from around the globe as consumers look to try something new. Korean food, for example, is making particularly positive traction in the foodservice market, while Vietnamese is becoming more mainstream and Asian street food is fast gaining momentum. This presents wholesalers and cash and carries with a real opportunity to cash in on direct sales with caterers as they look to recreate the true authentic taste experience of cuisines from around the world. “
To be successful in the world food sector, it is crucial for wholesalers to have a thorough understanding of the market and to be able to evolve and follow new food trends as chefs and caterers call for increasingly diverse ingredients.
Brian Yip has some practical advice: “The need for speed is apparent, and timesaving ingredients such as stir-ins and specialist spice mixes can help time-pressured kitchens or those less confident preparing a variety of global cuisines. Key products such as readymade dipping sauces and curry pastes offer timesaving solutions, while seasonings and flavour enhancers including Thai fish sauce, soy sauce and chilli paste will help to complement authentic flavoured dishes.”