Technomic: Mediterranean cuisine on the rise

by Staff
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CHICAGO — Mediterranean items are becoming increasingly popular at restaurants as consumers step up interest demand for ethnic cuisine, better-for-you foods and vegetarian options, according to market researcher Technomic.

In fact, 6 out of 10 consumers said they likely would order a menu item featuring Mediterranean cuisine, and sales at Mediterranean chains grew to $362 million in 2010, up 2% from 2009.

“Mediterranean cuisine certainly seems poised for continued growth,” said Mary Chapman, Technomic director. “The increase in menu incidence we have tracked at Technomic shows that these items are not just being added to Mediterranean concepts, but to the menus of national chains within virtually all segments and categories. We expect this to continue as awareness of the cuisine increases and as the trends feeding the growth continue to develop.”

In 2010 there were 430 units of leading Mediterranean chains. Pita sandwiches and Greek entrée salads have seen increases in menu incidence, and restaurants are using more hummus, chickpeas and Greek yogurt. In addition, consumers perceive fish, herbs, vegetables and olive oil to be healthy, and these are all staples of Mediterranean cuisine.

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