Indian Food Perceptions - UK
The Indian food market in the U.K. is experiencing challenges due to changing tastes and preferences among the younger generations. Below is a deeper dive into our findings.
While Indian food, often referred to as the curry industry, has seen a growth in market size from £3.2 billion to £4 billion over the past five years, the new 'clean-eating' trend poses a threat to its future. The British population's idea of healthy food has changed significantly in the past few years and their preference for lighter healthier meals with more vegetables and fish is affecting the attitude towards Indian food, especially among the younger demographics. This is one of the main reasons why curry restaurant numbers declined by 13% between 2015 and 2017 and analysts are predicting that about 50% will be shut down by 2027.
Until recently, Indian food enjoyed a five-decade popularity wave that made Indian cuisine a staple in the United Kingdom. The popularity of Indian food led to the opening of over 12,000 authentic Indian restaurants (compared to about "10,500 fish-and-chip shops") recording about £4.2 billion in sales in the United Kingdom. Indian food was so prominent in the U.K. that there is a dedicated curry committee in Parliament. However, changing demographics and tastes are affecting its prominence. However, its popularity became one of its biggest challenges. Once an affordable exotic fare attractive to the British masses, Indian food has become so mainstream that the younger U.K. generations aged below 40 years that are more inclined towards exotic foods no longer consider it exotic enough for their taste. Also, recent trends are showing that the British millennials are edging towards new trends such as the combination of Indian flavors with British ingredients.
Also, the U.K. population, especially millennials, are not showing any interests in learning how to cook authentic Indian food. Both Asian and non-Asian Britons consider making Indian food "too much hard work" since it's a complicated affair that takes about seven years to properly train a curry chef. Busy schedules have led to some people turning towards ready-made Indian meals produced by leading U.K. food companies such as Iceland Foods. For those who prefer to cook their own Indian meals at home, most can only find enough time to cook "stripped-down versions" of the cuisine. This means that they are only learning the basics and utilizing the available ready-ground, pre-prepared spices and elements.