The boom of Asian cuisine in the West
Worldwide consumption of Asian food has grown by nearly 500 per cent since 1999 and this figure is expected to grow1,2.
In recent times, individuals are also becoming more health-conscious3. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey that polled over 30,000 individuals, 88 per cent of diners are willing to spend more money on stores that offer healthier eating options4. They look for food that has lower levels of “negative” nutrients such as saturated fat, sugar and salt. Instead, they prefer higher levels of “positive” nutrients such as fiber and calcium5.
Asian cuisine offers many healthy options6. For example, lemongrass is often used in Thai dishes such as tom yum chicken soup, green curry chicken and chicken basil fried rice7. It is a great source of iron and potassium8. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber. Comparatively low in fat and rich in vitamins A to K, vegetables are commonly used in Asian cuisine, especially Vietnamese cuisine9. A preferred cooking technique in Vietnam is using water or broth instead of oils, which makes their dishes healthy for consumption10.
According to market research firm Euromonitor, Asian food is one of the most commonly consumed cuisines in the world11. Asian food chains have been expanding rapidly in Europe and North America12. This could be due to the increasing number of obesity cases in the United States, where more than one-third of adults have been reported with obesity13. The spices and flavoring in Asian cuisine such as the Sichuan pepper found in Chinese food provides a tantalizing glimpse of what Asian food has to offer14.
Although US-based chain Panda Express is still the largest Asian fast food chain in the world (valued at US$1.9 billion in 2013), other Asian food chains are starting to catch up15. For instance, Sukiya is valued at US$1.7 billion16. Known for its gyudon, donburi and curry, Sukiya has 1970 outlets worldwide, including Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Japan and China17. In 2013, Sukiya opened its first outlet in Mexico and has seen a rapid increase to seven outlets today18. The success in overseas expansion has seen Sukiya’s parent company, Zensho Holdings, gain an increase of 30 per cent in stock value over the last 12 months19.
Originally from the Philippines, Jollibee has more than 150 international outlets outside the country. With more than 950 outlets in country, Jollibee is the largest fast food chain in the Philippines. It holds a market share that totals to more than half of the entire Filipino fast food industry20. Jollibee is set to expand beyond their current franchises as part of their aggressive Middle East expansion strategy, opening 100 stores across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region by 202021. Currently, it has franchises in the United States, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and some of the GCC countries22. Jollibee’s expansion has led to the consistent inclusion in the US Top 500 restaurant rankings by Technomic, a research firm that focuses on food and related products23,24.
Specializing in fried snacks, Old Chang Kee (OCK) has been selling its range of products through retail outlets at shopping malls and kiosks along the road since 195625. Their best sellers include chicken curry puffs, chicken wings and cheezy chicken chicken balls. OCK bagged the Top Brand award by Singapore’s Influential Brands Award for four consecutive years since 201326. OCK also made it to the list of the world’s 20 best fast food chains by US-based magazine, Travel and Leisure, making it the only brand from Singapore to have the honor of being featured27. OCK has since expanded business outside Singapore, having franchises in Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia28. OCK had a two-day pop-up event in Kentish Town, London, where 1,200 chicken curry puffs were sold out within four hours each day. Well-received in London, OCK is also set to open outlets in other cities such as Manchester and Birmingham29.
1 South China Morning Post. (2015). Refined Asian cuisines are gaining popularity around the world. [online] Available at: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/article/1885874/refined-asian-cuisines-are-gaining-popularity-around-world
2 The Washington Post. (2015). Asian food: The fastest growing food in the world. [online] Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/
3 Forbes. (2015). Consumer Trends in Health and Wellness. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/thehartmangroup/2015/11/
4 Forbes. (2015). Consumers Want Healthy Foods—And Will Pay More For Them. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nancygagliardi/2015/02/18/
5 Health Hub. (2015). Make a healthier choice today! [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/211/make_healthier_choice
6 Single Platform. (2016). The Rise of Asian Food. [online] Available at: http://www.singleplatform.com/blog/2016/6/3/the-rise-of-asian-food
7 Food Recipes. (u.d). Cooking With Thai Lemon Grass. [online] Available at: http://www.thaifood.food-recipe-cooking.com
8 Health Essentials. (2015). Crave Chinese Food? Tips for Heart-Healthy Asian Cuisine. [online] Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/10/heart-smart-asian-dining-strategies/
9 Northern Vietnam. (u.d). Vietnamese cuisine and food. [online] Available at: http://north-vietnam.com/food-cuisine-vietnam/
10 CNN. (2010). The 10 healthiest ethnic cuisines. [online] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/08/25/
11 Nogales International. (2015). Asian cuisine expanding in restaurant market. [online] Available at: http://www.nogalesinternational.com/santa_cruz_valley_sun/
12 Euromonitor International. (2015). Interest in Asian Cuisines is Driving New Concept and Menu Trends. [online] Available at: http://blog.euromonitor.com/2015/05/interest-in-asian-cuisines-is-driving-new-concept-and-menu-trends.html
13 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Adult Obesity Facts. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/
14 Telegraph. (2016). The rise of authentic Chinese food. [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/
15 Euromonitor International. (2015). Interest in Asian Cuisines is Driving New Concept and Menu Trends. [online] Available at: http://blog.euromonitor.com/2015/05/interest-in-asian-cuisines-is-driving-new-concept-and-menu-trends.html
16 Euromonitor International. (2015). Interest in Asian Cuisines is Driving New Concept and Menu Trends. [online] Available at: http://blog.euromonitor.com/2015/05/interest-in-asian-cuisines-is-driving-new-concept-and-menu-trends.html
17 Forbes. (2017). From Pizza To Fried Rice: How These Tycoons Built A Billion-Dollar Fortune From Fast Food. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelauyeung/2017/03/22/
18 nippon.com. (2015). Mexican-Style Maruchan: Japanese Food Overseas as Seen Through the Success of an Instant Ramen Brand. [online] Available at: http://www.nippon.com/en/column/g00287/
19 Forbes. (2017). Bowled Over: Meet The Beef and Rice Billionaire From Japan. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chloesorvino/2017/05/02/
20 Yahoo!. (2016). First-ever Jollibee Store in Canada Opens Ten Days Before Christmas. [online] Available at: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/first-ever-jollibee-store-canada-180000325.html
21 Gulf Business. (2016). Filipino fast food chain Jollibee to open 100 stores across the GCC by 2020. [online] Available at: http://gulfbusiness.com/filipino-fast-food-chain-jollibee-to-open-100-stores-across-the-gcc-by-2020/
22 Yahoo!. (2016). First-ever Jollibee Store in Canada Opens Ten Days Before Christmas. [online] Available at: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/first-ever-jollibee-store-canada-180000325.html
23 PR Newswire. (2017). Jollibee’s U.S. Expansion Continues with First Florida Location Opening. [online] Available at: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/jollibees-us-expansion-continues-with-first-florida-location-opening-300424565.html
24 Technomic. (u.d). About Technomic. [online] Available at: http://www.technomic.com/about
25 Old Chang Kee. (u.d). About Us - Our Heritage. [online] Available at: http://www.oldchangkee.com/our-heritage.htm
26 Old Chang Kee. (u.d). Our Awards. [online] Available at: http://www.oldchangkee.com/our-awards.htm
27 Travel and Leisure. (2012). Best Fast-Food Chains in the World. [online] Available at: http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-fast-food-chains-in-the-world/14
28 The Edge Markets. (2017). Portfolio up as markets continue to run, Old Chang Kee added. [online] Available at: http://www.theedgemarkets.com.sg/article/portfolio-markets-continue-run-old-chang-kee-added
29 The Straits Times. (2017). Old Chang Kee to open in London. [online] Available at: http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/old-chang-kee-curry-puffs-head-for-london