It started out more than 100 years ago as a small cultural celebration by Britain’s Chinese communities, with the aim of promoting Chinese food in the UK.
Since then Chinese New Year has grown to become a mainstream event enjoyed by foodies right across Britain, not only in restaurants but increasingly at home, according to Tesco.
The supermarket chain says that interest in the event as a fixture on the UK culinary calendar has grown so much in the last 10 years that retail experts calculate Chinese food demand for the occasion to have grown by 1400%.
For this year’s event, which started yesterday (Thursday February 19), Tesco predicts several food sales uplifts on the previous Chinese New Year. Sales of noodles are expected to rise by 30%, microwaveable rice up 20%, and accompaniments (such as sauces, prawn crackers and coconut milk) plus tinned vegetables (such as bamboo shoots and horse chestnuts) up 20%.
Tesco Chinese food range buyer Henry Tao said: “Chinese New Year has grown spectacularly in popularity in recent years. Brits feel more confident in their ability to prepare authentic dishes, thanks to the huge number of celebrity chef cooking shows.
“And for the shoppers who want easier, prepared meal options, our range has grown from about five dishes to 40 today. We also have an exclusive Chinese range created by Ken Hom.”
Tesco stocks more than 100 Chinese food products as well as 40 Chinese ready meals. To help raise more awareness of the event Tesco will be launching a virtual fortune cookie on its Twitter account. Anyone who tweets @Tescofood between Thursday February 19 and Saturday February 21will receive a virtual fortune cookie with a message.
*Globally acclaimed celebrity chef Ken Hom OBE will be attending The Housewares Conference & Innovation Awards, organised by ‘Housewares Magazine’ and www.HousewaresLive.net. Now in its sixth year, the annual event will take place on April 22 at Wokefield Park near Reading in Berkshire. Please see www.housewaresconference.co.uk for more information.
The Box Office is now open, with a reduced price if you book your place at The Housewares Conference, held during the day, and your ticket for the Housewares Innovation Awards at the same time. A further discounted price for retailers is also available. For details, contact Laurie Marrington on firstname.lastname@example.org.