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UK shoppers turn to flavours from the East

2nd February 2011 Print

No longer limited to the MSG-heavy Sweet and Sour and Chow Mein takeaways of yesteryear, British shoppers are enjoying a revival in Chinese and oriental inspired dishes.

Asda has announced sales of Pan-Asian ingredients are up 30% on this time last year as people turn to healthier, cheaper, home-cooked meals over expensive take-outs.

Shoppers are choosing to cook Pan-Asian dishes from scratch with exotic stir-fry additions such as tofu, satay sauce and sweet chilli stir fry sauce flying off shelves as customers choose to eat healthily and to celebrate Chinese New Year on 3rd February. Fresh ginger and oyster mushrooms have seen a 62% and 46% increase respectively in sales as customers choose to experiment with eastern flavours and textures.

Asda expects to sell over 50t of beansprouts this week for Chinese New Year alone. Over 80,000 woks have sold in the last two weeks as customers put their cooking skills to practice and choose to eat healthy balanced meals to spice up the January blues.

Asda also reports a growing trend for Pan-Asian meal solutions at lunch time. Asda’s new Chosen By You Pan-Asian pots for one include a selection of microwaveable meals using only the freshest ingredients with inspiration from Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. To date over 100,000 have sold since going in-store at the start of the year.

On average, customers now dedicate approximately a fifth of their shopping trolley to Asian or oriental inspired produce each week, compared to ten years ago when instant noodles and stir-fry vegetables were the ingredients of choice.

Influences such as an increase in travel to exotic holiday destinations such as the Far East and South East Asia, greater oriental produce availability in supermarkets and the rise in popularity of dim sum restaurants has led to the growing trend for oriental cuisine in the UK.

Paul Lei, Buyer for Ethnic Oriental food at Asda said: “With a wide range of healthy and affordable meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes it’s easy to see why Pan-Asian cuisine is growing in popularity for 2011. Pan-Asian food can provide just the right balance of protein and carbohydrates whilst providing an oriental kick to the taste buds, a refreshing change to the usual comfort food on offer during the winter months!”

Asda’s oriental range is currently available in 35 stores across the UK.