Category guide: World Food

You could miss out if your world food category is not up to scratch, writes Lindsay Sharman.

An increasingly multicultural population and easy access to international travel have contributed to the exponential growth in popularity of world food products in both retail and foodservice.
 World food sales tips
  • Go Local: Find out the type of customer your retailers and caterers are working with and stock international food that will appeal to them.
  • Shout about it: World foods-themed promotional displays will draw customers’ attention to new launches or best-selling brands.
  • Spice of life: Offer herbs and spices that restaurant owners, chefs and caterers need to recreate international dishes.

Now worth £1.4bn, the category has grown 23% since 2008 and today, wholesalers have a huge role to play in continuing its success.

“Specialist world foods are gaining shelf space on independents’ shelves and world foods can be a key footfall driver for wholesalers and their customers if they get it right,” says Bestway director Dawood Pervez.

World food is a lucrative market for wholesalers, whether you specialise in certain international foods or offer a more general service.

“It was initially Indian and Chinese food that spearheaded this development, but recently Thai and Mexican food have become important drivers of world cuisine,” says Mark Lyddy, head of foodservice at Tilda.

Other popular cultural influences in the market include Caribbean, Malaysian, Vietnamese, South American and African, and this is demonstrated on high streets around the country.

“The pressure is on for wholesalers to offer fresh and authentically sourced products from around the world that can be convenient as well as tasty,” says Carine Gauyet, associate marketing director at Empire Bespoke Foods.

Along with sauces and ready meals, meal kits are another growing area for wholesalers to offer their retail customers.

“Meal kits and spice rubs offer consumers the ideal opportunity to experiment with different cuisines from around the world and take away the hassle for inexperienced or novice cooks,” says Empire Foods’ Carine Gauyet.

In contrast, support for caterers is more about stocking a range of ingredients and offering them the right products at the right price so that they are then able to produce interesting menus and meals.

Events such as National Curry Week (October 13-19) also offer a great opportunity to educate customers – and drive sales in‑depot.

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Lindsay Sharman is a former editor of Retail Newsagent, news editor of Retail Express and account manager in public relations for leading food and drink brands. Lindsay loves anything to do with the arts, including mid-century antiques, and cycles everywhere, even in winter


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