Chinese cuisine is now the most popular east Asian food option in the UK and should be promoted for its health and nutrition to drive profits, according to Lee Kum Kee's The Future of Oriental Food report.
The sauce company found that 56% of 1000 consumers polled said that Chinese was their preferred East Asian cuisine, followed by Thai (17%) and Japanese (9%).
It believes that there are opportunities across the sector for those serving Chinese food, with plenty of dishes and combinations as yet undiscovered by the UK dining out public. For instance, it found that 46% of consumers had not heard of glass noodles, while 26% had not tried Char Siu sauce.
Maria Chong, managing director of Lee Kum Kee Europe, said: "The report demonstrates the opportunities and challenges for foodservice operatives. One of the key opportunities is the rise in ‘kind eating', particularly for Oriental food. Operators should be showing consumers just how healthy and nutritious Chinese food can be."
The report also found that consumer confidence was impacting restaurant visits, while operators were also being hit by rising business rates and a shortage of skilled Chinese chefs.
However, Lee Kum Kee said that there were opportunities for operators to address some consumer trends by promoting the health benefits of Chinese food and educating consumers on the breadth of options available.
Chong added: ‘Everyone is familiar with Oriental cuisine, but it's changed dramatically over the years, as has the UK food scene. We've created this report to understand the current status of Oriental food in the UK foodservice market and offer an effective tool for operators. It's about unlocking the profit-making opportunity that a good Oriental food offer can present and driving business success, not just within traditional Oriental restaurants but across all foodservice sectors.''Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).