In a recent commentary by Chef Cari Price at Food IQ, he points out that when it comes to food, authenticity can be like walking a tight rope with American consumers. Tell us about it!
Hamburger- and fry-loving Americans have been embracing foreign foods, including Korean fried chicken, black rice, dumplings, kimchee, naan bread and Indian chutneys, more today than ever before.
Most urban cities have established districts of independently owned restaurants, specializing in various cuisines, such as New York City’s Little Italy and Chinatown. Although we know and love those districts for their culture, authenticity and adventure, ethnic ingredients are now being spotted outside of those neighborhoods
While Chef Cari is right on the money about an ethnic food revolution, he’s a bit late in the game. However, his perspective on McDonald’s efforts to target Hispanic Americans and Domino’s multi-language commercials to promote their Perfect Combo, a national launched meal bundle inspired by Hispanic consumer research shows how clever brand managers have been taking advantage of the foodie revolution.
Andrew Gamm, Brand Director for Pizza Patron, has an interesting perspective as well. They recently ran a promotion for a free pizza for any customer who ordered in Spanish. While their Pizza Por Favor was a clever gimmick, his view that only companies who develop relationships with the Hispanic market are going to succeed is ignorant to the other factors changing the multi-cultural marketplace.
A new Palo Alto chain, Asian Box, is a perfect example of an ethnic brand that pushes the all-natural and made-on-site products and flavors that blend Asian spices to create an authentic culinary experience.
While Hispanic inspired products are growing fast, Asian fusion foods are dominating the higher end palette for Americans looking to expand their dining-out pleasure.