Global Flavors Are Now Pantry Staples

June 7, 2022
by David

3 Reasons Shoppers Are Embracing Ingredients From Around the World

Thanks to technology, the world is smaller—and smarter—than ever. An estimated 85% of Americans own a smartphone. That means most of us are a couple of finger taps away from finding answers to any questions we have. Watch a cooking video for any cuisine in the world. Research and locate an ingredient you only just heard about in a recipe. We can get on our phones, tablets, or TVs to watch cooking competitions and docuseries highlighting foods from a variety of cultures. Easy access to all this information has made all food local, and that means global flavors are now accessible to anyone. 

Several factors have been developing over time and have led us to a new reality where global flavors are smart business:  

1. Global Ingredients Sell

The 2020 U.S. Census, which found that 42% the U.S. population is Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other non-white ethnicities. It’s far too general to assume ethnicity is shaping everyone’s shopping lists, but these shifting demographics reveal the growing range of shoppers’ cultures. Businesses that cater to a diverse customer base have a 4.0% year-over-year sales growth rate vs 0.6% for those who don’t, according to SPINS data. You can find households in any part of the country making meals from different backgrounds and restaurants serving every possible dish you can think of. Today, we’re used to having a rich array of flavors to choose from at the grocery store and on any menu. This is the default mindset for many Americans but it does highlight the range of cultures—and cuisines—in American households.  

2. Brand Ownership Reflects a Diverse Population

The diversifying population is causing changes throughout the industry—not just in the checkout line. According to data from the KeHE DiverseTrade program and SPINS, 9.9% of brands are now minority-owned. That means these decision makers are bringing their often overlooked voices to their businesses, representing the cultures of their shoppers, and introducing new foods to a new audience. Brands like Ayo Foods and Maya Kaimal are expanding access to cuisines from West Africa and India, respectively, in American stores. Shoppers can even find sweets and snacks with more global flavors these days. 

3. Social Media Enhances At-home Meals

Social media might not be a great source for information about many topics, but it is a great way to educate people about new cuisine. Head to YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to see everyday at-home cooks and professional chefs walking viewers through recipes and answering culinary questions. These tutorials not only help shoppers in the kitchen, but they also remove the mystery from the kitchen and inspire them to be more adventurous in store aisles. Plus, social media can help shoppers with some grocery hacks that reduce the cost of cooking at home—which plenty of shoppers are doing. 

Over the last couple of years, the pandemic limited dining options—not to mention the initial boredom that inspired everyone to test their culinary skills. Suddenly, shoppers were replicating their favorite restaurant meals at home, thereby broadening the variety of ingredients in their cupboards. Then, as the world opened back up, many workers remained remote and had more time and reason to rely on their own kitchen versus a lunch spot near the office. Plus, rising prices can make cooking at home a cheaper option than dining out—particularly when feeding a family.  

Bring Global Flavors and Education to Shoppers

As shoppers learn about and seek out ingredients from around the world, they are forever broadening their pantry assortment. They won’t be unlearning the new dishes they’ve tried and which flavors they enjoyed. And many shoppers are still learning and exploring, creating opportunities for education and discovery from brands and retailers alike. Let SPINS Product Intelligence help you understand how you can meet shopper needs and grow your business.Learn more about SPINS Omni-Intelligence today.