What you need to know

International food adoption is a fairly slow process in the US, which prizes traditional Mexican, Italian, and Chinese fare above all else. However, factors are positioning international fare for continued future growth, including an increasingly diverse population that favors such cuisines; the need for restaurants and products to differentiate and innovate in a crowded marketplace; and the growing spending power of more adventurous young diners who enjoy trying new types of foods. Brands will need to be cautious about appropriating other cultures, straying too far from authentic ingredients and preparations, and entering categories that are already saturated.


This Report analyzes international food trends in both foodservice and retail by utilizing Mintel GNPD (Global New Products Database) and MMI (Mintel Menu Insights). This Report also includes consumer behaviors/attitudes toward international foods in both foodservice and retail. This Report builds upon analysis presented in Mintel’s International Flavor Trends – US, March 2018.

This Report segments international food eaters into three user groups (see Databook) to help illuminate the behaviors and attitudes of different types of international food customers throughout.

  • Frequent international food eaters: consume international foods daily or a few times a week.

  • Moderate international food eaters: consume international foods once a week or a few times a month.

  • Occasional international food eaters: consume them once a month or less.

The term “international foods” is a gray area in both foodservice and retail. For the purposes of this Report, Mintel defines it as:

  • Foods with international/cultural origins outside the US (eg Korean bulgogi)

  • Foods based upon/associated with international cuisines/dishes/flavors (eg Korean BBQ sauce)

  • Foods that blend together different cuisines (eg Korean tacos).

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