At this time of year the nearest that many British consumers get to a holiday is a taste of their favourite foods from around the world. For many UK food and drink wholesalers reading this, 2017’s biggest uncertainty is likely to be the unpredictable price of imported foods due to currency fluctuations as the Brexit process rumbles on. But it’s unlikely to put off S.O.P International, featured on our front cover with their Khanum Pure Butter Ghee, who have been importing and distributing a wide range of Oriental and Asian foods since 2003.

Charles-New-GreyAs Oriental grocers Wing Yip remind us in this feature, it’s just been Chinese New Year and we are now in the Year of the Rooster. Elsewhere in the world food market Grace Foods UK continue to deliver the vibrant energy of the Caribbean in the shape of their authentic sauces and ingredients, helping growing numbers of consumers to expand their taste horizons, as Encona sauces find their way into more and more households.

Meanwhile as people move around the world, they take their favourite food flavours with them. There’s plenty of food for thought in the taste trend predictions in McCormick and Schwarz’s latest Flavour Forecast, available at

The world foods category never stands still. As Anita Winther, Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel says introducing the market research experts’ last report, it’s an open field. Two giants of UK world foods, Indian and Mexican, enjoyed outstanding and sustained retail growth until just a few years ago.

They are of course still enormous in sales terms. But Mintel’s reading is that these long-established cuisines enjoy such broad usage, it leaves little scope to convert new users or secure new occasions. Indian and Mexican are also under pressure from the less well-established cuisines, which appeal to foodies’ hunger for new tastes.

World food lovers are likely to be foodies and fancy themselves as cooks. With a broad interest in trying new ethnic food, the emerging cuisines are key areas for sales growth and new product development. On a practical point, younger single shoppers living and working in urban locations are bolder about scratch cooking and trying recipes than their parents’ generation. Pre-packaged world foods, especially spices, spice kits and sauces offer independent retail outlets and the wholesalers that supply them a means to compete with the local supermarkets and keep younger foodies coming back into the store.

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