Rising demand for Mexican, Middle Eastern and North African foods in the UK is reported by ingredients supplier EHL Ingredients.
"Mexican ingredients is an area of growth for us at the moment, especially among ready meal manufacturers, who are keen to make their Mexican sauces, meal kits and finished dishes as authentic as possible," said sales and marketing director Tasneem Backhouse. "We predict that the UK's love of Mexican food will continue to grow in the next few years."
"We are also starting to see an increase in demand for ingredients for Middle Eastern and North African foods. Cuisines and dishes from this part of the world are starting to emerge on to the UK market, on supermarket shelves and in restaurants.
"The UK appetite for international foods continues to expand and we predict an increase in demand for meals such as tagines and Arabic style soups, as well as sauces and pastes for meat dishes and even sweet ingredients for Middle Eastern desserts."
As with a range of companies, EHL had been affected by raw material price hikes, said Backhouse. "Ingredients that have affected us include coconut milk, oats, walnuts, nutmeg and, more recently, lentils."
Backhouse said EHL was looking at investing in new ways of increasing efficiency and output. "We recently invested in a new blending machine and during 2011 we will be looking to invest in other new pieces of machinery. At the moment we are researching packaging machines and milling and grinding machines."
The company also plans to recruit a dedicated member of staff to manage all its research and development, develop new spice blends, create bespoke herb and spice blends for customers and review packaging formats.