Americans embracing global flavors on menus, study finds

Two-thirds of U.S. consumers say they’re eating a broader variety of ethnic cuisines than they were five years ago, according to recent research from the National Restaurant Association, indicating that ethnic foods are becoming an increasing part of everyday American diets.

Restaurants are diners’ main access point to foods with ethnic flair, the study found, with Italian, Mexican and Chinese menu items being the most popular among American consumers.

“Americans generally are more willing to try new food than they were only a decade or so ago—especially in restaurants—underscoring that the typical consumer today is becoming more adventurous and sophisticated when it comes to different cuisines and flavors,” said Annika Stensson, director of research communications for the NRA. “Ethnic cuisines are a long-term trend on restaurant menus, with some being so common that they’re hardly considered ethnic anymore, while others are still relatively unknown.”

Eighty percent of consumers eat at least one ethnic cuisine per month, while one-third tried a new ethnic cuisine in the last year, according to the NRA.

The most common ethnic cuisines eaten on premise include sushi, Thai, Vietnamese, Brazilian/Argentinian, Greek and Southeast Asian, while Chinese, Ethiopian, Mexican and Italian dishes dominate in off-premise business. 


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