Culture and Cuisine: The Opportunity for Fresh Produce
Woman in grocery store along with her son

Culture and Cuisine: The Opportunity for Fresh Produce

Catering to the traditions, attitudes and shopping behaviours of multicultural consumers is a sizeable growth opportunity for Australian fruit and vegetable growers and retailers. This group of shoppers is expected to become even more important over the next few years driven by increased immigration and the influence that multicultural consumers have on the cuisines Australians eat.

Ethnic households shop differently – particularly when it comes to fresh produce. These households allocate 21.2% of their total grocery basket volume to fresh fruits and vegetables, compared to 16.6% share for non-ethnic households. Over the past year, ethnic households purchased on average 14.6% more kilograms of fruits and vegetables and spent an additional $45.60 compared with non-ethnic households. However, ethnic households are thriftier, spending $0.34 less per kilogram on fresh produce.

A love for herbs, lychees and fresh leafy greens

Ethnic households purchased significantly more leafy Asian vegetables, lychees, mango, eggplant and herbs in both volume and dollar terms in the past year compared to non-ethnic households, making these categories important for growers and retailers who want to capture more opportunities from these culturally diverse households.

A preference for specialty stores

While all households buy most of their fresh fruits and vegetables in major supermarkets, ethnic households allocate significantly more of their fresh produce spend to specialty stores such as Asian grocers, greengrocers and markets. Ethnic households also shop more frequently for fresh produce at speciality stores compared with non-ethnic households.

The opportunity for Australian growers and retailers

When thinking about our culturally diverse mix, we should no longer be focusing solely on European cultures. Today, Asian-born Australians now represent more than 10% of the overall population – their footprint has more than doubled over the past 20 years and this will continue to increase. Asian-born consumers are growing in importance and engaging with them requires a change in mindset.

While there is a need to ensure that supply growth doesn’t overshoot demand, if the current rate of migration continues, we could expect to see steady demand growth for even more fruit and vegetable categories that appeal to ethnic households. For example, winter melon, bitter melon, chinese chives, daikon and tropical fruits all have future growth potential.

It is also important to remember that ethnic households are more cost-conscious than non-ethic households. Therefore, any new product developments targeting ethnic shoppers should be supplied at a competitive price point to give the best chance of in-market success.

Nielsen is committed to further expanding and diversifying our household panel to get a deeper understanding of the purchasing trends of multicultural Australia. During the first half of 2019 we plan to complete the recruitment of additional ethnic homes to our panel, providing our clients with a representative view of consumer purchasing within key ethnic population groups.