In celebration of National Curry Week, which kicked off on Monday (October 10) and runs until Sunday (October 16), Sainsbury’s has revealed how the nation’s love of Indian cuisine has evolved.
The supermarket chain claims Indian cuisine was introduced to the UK in 1747 and has continued to evolve throughout the decades.
Sainsbury’s said: ‘With popular dishes such as Tandoori meats in the 1970s and the Balti in the 1980s and 1990s, many of the options on offer were anglicised versions of a limited number of classic Indian dishes. But as UK tastebuds become increasingly sophisticated and with a greater demand for authenticity, more flavoursome varieties are becoming available.’
A recent survey commissioned by Sainsbury’s revealed that alongside cupboard favourites such as chilli, ginger, paprika and cumin, shoppers are also opting for more exotic ingredients when it comes to cooking curry.
Sainsbury’s reported that sales of garam masala are up by nearly a quarter (24%) in volume year-on-year, while staples such as cumin and coriander seed are also increasing in popularity, with sales of turmeric up 9%.
Over a third (37%) of Brits are willing to spend up to three hours in the kitchen perfecting the mix of spices for the best possible flavour for a home-cooked curry.
With a long standing heritage of stocking Indian-style cuisine in store, Sainsbury’s first introduced classic Indian ingredients such as curry powder and mango chutney in 1920, representing, the grocer said, ‘a revolutionary addition to supermarket shopping for the time’. Its first Indian ready meals included Chicken Tikka Biryani, Chicken Korma, Chicken Kadhai and Bombay Potato which were launched in 1989.
More than 20 years on, Sainsbury’s stocks a range of 50 prepared Indian dishes and accompaniments, selling more than £61m per annum. It says the nation’s favourite dishes are Tikka Masala and Korma and the preferred side dish is naan bread followed by rice.
The retailer said 43% of Brits would now opt for a ready meal over a takeaway down to convenience and better value for money.
Sainsbury’s product developer Austin Wheeler commented: “To ensure we’re able to meet the growing customer demand for Indian cuisine, we spend a lot of time tasting, sampling and trialling a range of curries.
“We review recipes and ideas from top chefs and new restaurants and visit those real hotbeds of Indian cuisine such as Bradford, Manchester’s Curry Mile and Brick Lane to create a truly authentic product.
“We recently launched our new and extensive range of Indian ready meals, which includes a selection of main dishes such as our By Sainsbury’s Indian Tandoori Chicken with Raita Dip and our Taste the Difference hand stretched Chicken Balti-Topped Naan.
“We’ve also enhanced our range of vegetarian side dishes including By Sainsbury’s Sweet Potato and Red Onion Bhajis, By Sainsbury’s Tadka Daal and Taste the Difference Crispy Beetroot and Chilli Samosas.
“We’ve had some great feedback from our customers and will continue to evolve the range to suit changing palettes and preferences.”