A new report by the National Restaurant Association finds U.S. consumers are willing to try more new foods today than in decades past.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA)’s new report “Global Palates: Ethnic Cuisines and Flavors in America” surveyed U.S. customers and found more Americans are incorporating a wide array of ethnic cuisines into their everyday diets.
According to the report, Italian, Mexican and Chinese cuisines reign supreme in terms of familiarity, trial and frequency of eating, while consumers are least familiar with Ethiopian, Brazilian/Argentinian and Korean cuisines.
“Americans generally are more willing to try new food than they were only a decade or so ago—especially in restaurants—underscoring that the typical consumer today is becoming more adventurous and sophisticated when it comes to different cuisines and flavors,” said Annika Stensson, director of research communications, NRA.
“Ethnic cuisines are a long-term trend on restaurant menus, with some being so common that they’re hardly considered ethnic anymore, while others are still relatively unknown. However, our research shows that consumers are exploring a range of international dishes these days,” Stensson added.
The survey found that two-thirds of consumers say they’re eating a wider variety of ethnic cuisines now than they were just five years ago. Restaurants are the primary point of access for trying new cuisines, as well as the source where frequent eaters typically get their ethnic food, the research found.
Additional highlights from the survey include:
- American consumers place value on authentic experiences and restaurants specializing in individual cuisines, but are nearly equally as open to ethnic dishes on mainstream menus.
- 80% of consumers eat at least one ethnic cuisine per month.
- 17% of consumers eat seven or more cuisines on a monthly basis.
- Nearly one-third of consumers tried a new ethnic cuisine in the past year.
- The cuisines most commonly eaten on-premises at restaurants are sushi, Thai, Vietnamese, Brazilian/Argentinian, Greek and Southeast Asian.
- On the restaurant takeout and delivery side, Chinese is by far the most common, followed by Ethiopian, Mexican and Italian.
The survey polled 1,011 adults, and was conducted in April 2015 by ORC International on behalf of the National Restaurant Association. It asked how familiar Americans are with various ethnic and regional cuisines and items, where they typically eat them and how they feel about those choices. For more information, visit www.Restaurant.org/GlobalFlavors.