Authenticity Matters Most to Ethnic Food Fans

CHICAGO — The popularity of ethnic food has been on the rise for the last few years, but to build a fan base, it had better be the real thing, recent Mintel research shows. Authenticity ranked highest when survey respondents were asked what they looked for in ethnic food.

"They want it to be the real deal," said David Browne, Mintel senior analyst, in a press release.

Two-thirds of respondents in a Mintel consumer survey said authentic or traditional flavors are the most important factors when buying or eating ethnic food. Ethnic food fans also placed importance on all-natural (49%), premium/gourmet or artisanal (49%) and reduced fat (48%).

Mintel, a Chicago-based consumer research firm, also found that 81% of respondents said they had eaten ethnic food in the month leading up to the survey. The most popular ethnic foods, the survey revealed, are Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Pan Asian and Japanese.