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July 18 - Generally speaking, consumers express interest in new culinary experiences; however, some trepidation remains when it comes to actually trying different foods from other cultures. Through innovation, Asian noodle marketers can help bridge the gap between interest and trial, according to Packaged Facts in the report Asian Noodles: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities.
As suggested by our survey results, those who eat Asian noodles are more likely subscribe to adventurous behaviors and attitudes when it comes to food and culture. The willingness to explore new food options skews higher among those who eat Asian noodles at a restaurant.
Once again, this reinforces the idea that restaurants are often a point of entry in ethnic food exploration. So it’s not surprising to find that Asian noodle users tend to strongly agree that they enjoy eating foreign foods at a restaurant and often try different foods from other cultures.
Some degree of food adventurousness is required to gain knowledge and experience, which can then prompt continued food exploration.
- As suggested by our survey results, those who believe they possess a strong knowledge of Asian noodles are more likely subscribe to adventurous behaviors and attitudes when it comes to food and culture. This implies that the willingness to explore new food options and culinary experiences leads to increased confidence and knowledge in other cuisines.
- Conversely, those who claim they have no Asian noodle knowledge are also less adventurous when it comes to trying new foods/recipes or showing interest in other cultures and foreign foods.
To better attract those who are less willing to experiment in food and culture, providing customized options allowing guests to select familiar ingredients will likely have the best opportunity as a point of entry for these new users.
Consider the expanding noodle chain Wagamama, which frames its brand as presenting staple modern Asian cuisine delivering fresh, authentic menus that are updated seasonally. The company leverages authenticity while understanding menu explanation is important to help guests feel comfortable with its brand and menu. For example, Teppanyaki is a menu section that offers this explanation to help patrons to increase noodle knowledge and encourage trial: “Teppanyaki is a big plate of sizzling noodles, stir-fried by quickly turning them on a flat griddle. This means you get soft noodles and crunchy vegetables.”
The bottom line
By leveraging limited-time offers, seasonal menus, and other menu strategies that play to variety and change, restaurants play a significant role in shaping society’s comfort with trying the new and different when it comes to foreign/ethnic foods.
For packaged food marketers, noodle opportunity involves utilizing brand extension, cobranding partnerships and premiumization to gain traction and encourage consumers to explore this type of culinary innovation at home.
-- David Morris