The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has found that there has been a growing trend for Caribbean food in the UK, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands over the past few years. In the new report commissioned ahead of their Absolutely Caribbean virtual expo on 17th and 18th November, they have identified Caribbean sauces and condiments, and natural, plant-based ingredients as having significant potential across Europe.
“We are seeing great potential for Caribbean food products across Europe at the moment. It seems that consumers are looking for different flavours and experimenting more with spices and there is much promise amongst natural foods such a chocolate, teas and gluten free flours. We are really excited about the range of quality, artisanal producers that we have at our expo this year which will help to support trade between the Caribbean and Europe,” comments Dr. Damie Sinanan, Manager of Competitiveness and Export Promotion from Caribbean Export.
In the UK, the Caribbean market is now worth almost £100m. Foodservice wholesale giant Bidfood singled out Caribbean food as a top 10 cuisine trend and last year retailer Tesco highlighted Caribbean fare as an ’emerging trend’. Sauces and condiments in particular are worth £1.12bn and grew by 16.8% in the last year.
“We’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of Caribbean foods in the UK in recent years which is really exciting. The likes of Ainsley Harriott and Levi roots paving the way for Caribbean food, seeing staple Caribbean ingredients more widely available but also seeing our cookbook as a best seller on numerous charts and receiving TV & media recognition nationally. There is such a variety and so many flavours in Caribbean cooking which the British public are loving,” comments Craig & Shaun McAnuff, Original Flava.
In Spain, ‘foods from other countries’ have grown by 105.9% since 2012 and spicy flavours have seen strong growth in recent years with Caribbean flavours being named an emerging trend in sauces and spices. They have increased around 55% to three million kilograms and over 29% in value to nearly €19m.
Almost a third (32%) of German consumers like Caribbean food which is promising. During the family dinner occasion there has been an increase in heat and spice on the table. Dutch consumers, too, like it hot and chilli sauces have shot up 125% in value since 2016. People in the Netherlands are also increasingly open to incorporating greater variation into their cooking, including flavour combinations and the use of fresh and natural ingredients.
Europe’s love for natural plant-based ingredients combined with the region’s efforts to promote sustainability is also fuelling the demand for natural products such a chocolate, tea and gluten free flour.
In the UK, chocolate is a £4.3bn category and according to Kantar, plain and dark chocolate is growing by 14.5% year-on-year. In Spain it is worth €1.5bn and increased by 3.6% in 2019. Meanwhile, the Netherlands in 2018 was the largest importer of cocoa beans and home to the largest cocoa grinding industry in the world.
The Tea category in the UK is worth £561.3m which is little surprising given the nation’s love of tea. In Germany research has found that an average of 129m cups of tea per day are enjoy and in the Netherlands 71% of consumers drink tea at least weekly.
In terms of gluten free flours, the category grew by 19,9% in 2019 compared to the year before in the UK and in Germany the market is worth £174m.
To celebrate the array of quality, artisanal producers and to support trade between the Caribbean and Europe, the Agency has launched their first virtual expo event: Absolutely Caribbean – unlocking the profit potential of the Caribbean on 17th and 18th November.
For more information about the event and to register, please visit – http://expo.absolutelycaribbean.com/about.html