From Spaghetti Bolognaise to Pad Thai – The Changing Tastes of the Australian Shopper

From Spaghetti Bolognaise to Pad Thai – The Changing Tastes of the Australian Shopper

Lee Naylor, Executive Director, Nielsen Consumer Research – Pacific

New research from The Nielsen Company reveals that the profile of the Australian shopper is rapidly evolving and retailers and manufacturers in the Australian retail trade will need to develop strategies that accommodate growing ethnicity, population increases and an aging society in order to succeed in the future.

The results from Nielsen’s 2010 “ShopperTrends Report-The Future of Retailing” revealed that migration from Asia is gathering pace. In 2006, 7% of the population was born in Asia, and based on current migration trends, their representation could increase to 21% by 2050. This has a huge impact on Australian eating habits with Nielsen research showing that Thai cuisine is already the second most popular type of cuisine eaten out of the home (behind traditional Australian) among Aussie households, followed by Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine.

Opportunities Abound

Furthermore, the penetration of Asian food items in Australian family pantries has grown by 2% (equivalent to an additional 268,000 households) since 2007; representing a major opportunity for grocery manufacturers and retailers to provide simple and convenient Asian meal solutions as this cuisine evolves to become a staple among Australian households.

From a supplier and retailer point of view, it is critical that we understand how ethnicity impacts how people shop. Even more important is to understand how this trend will impact the demand for products and how we maximize the opportunities these trends will present to the trade in the future. Over the past 50 years, Australian households have been adopting Mediterranean cuisine as part of their everyday menu. However, as Asian migration continues to grow over the next few decades, this will impact what we eat, how we shop and what we buy.

Successful Retailing

The absorption of Asian dishes will happen more quickly if retailers and manufacturers understand how current and new Aussies think about cooking. The Australian retailing giant Coles has already made successful inroads in its quest to encourage consumers to cook exciting meals in the home using supermarket ingredients. Coles’ “Feed your Family for under $10” campaign with celebrity chef Curtis Stone has been hugely successful and has resulted in dramatic sales lifts of various cooking ingredients.

Coles has seen dramatic surges in sales of ingredients ranging from diced pork, rib roasts, salmon fillets and spices, as featured in the Curtis Stone recipes. Consumers are clearly interested in cooking exciting meals at home. Coles has responded to this trend by providing an outlet where they can easily purchase quality ingredients and a little extra help to make inspirational dishes with simple recipes.