July 18, 2012: It’s All Greek to Me
We all know that ethnic food is hot—for the last several years we’ve seen the rise of various ethnic cuisines—and now research firm Technomic has issued its Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report, which shows one of the hottest cuisines today is Greek food. According to an article in Restaurant Management magazine, the Report says “49 percent of consumers… have tried Greek cuisine and liked it. An additional 23 percent say they haven’t tried it yet, but would like to give it a go.” And nearly one-third say they “occasionally” order Greek food.
The magazine attributes the new popularity of Greek food to “celebrity” Greek chefs and “high-profile Greek restaurants.” More important, I think (and the magazine mentions this), is the recent touting of the many health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.
I’m not expecting you to act on this news and open a Greek restaurant—though given this report, that may not be a bad idea. The broader message for those of you in (or aspiring to be in) the food business is that, according to many experts, healthy food is in. Kevin Miles, president and COO of Mediterranean-inspired fast-casual chain Zöes Kitchen, told the magazine that consumers are “realizing, ‘Olive oil is better for me than corn oil.’”
This fascination with healthy dining is underscored in the Technomic report. The consumers surveyed rank Greek food as “the fourth-healthiest cuisine.” Only Japanese food/sushi, Chinese food and the general Mediterranean food category outrank it.
Obviously, American consumers are looking for healthy dining alternatives, and food entrepreneurs would be smart to give them some.