High street retail giant ASDA has today confirmed its support and sponsorship for the Best Product of the Year category at this year’s World Food Awards.

The glittering gala event, which celebrates the very best of ethnic food products and brands, will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Saturday 1st October.

The Awards, now in their third year have been created by the World Foods Association and recognise not only the incredible growth within this sector, but also the diversity of cultures and communities that the industry is inspired by.

According to Keynote research released in January 2011, the UK market for ethnic foods and rice was worth around £1.64bn in 2009, a 10.4 per cent increase on 2008. 2009 figures also show that the UK is leading the EU ethnic cuisine pack in terms of market value, with France and Germany the second and third most significant markets.

CJ Antal Smith of ASDA says: “As one of the leading High Street supermarkets we have seen the incredible growth within the World Foods sector. 10 years ago we had only one aisle filled with South Asian and Chinese food. Now, the range is so varied and expansive that not only do the products demand greater shelf space, but the consumers are demanding it too. Some of our stores have an Ethnic customer profile of 70% plus. The space we give to those ranges reflects this.”

Within the market, Indian and Chinese cuisines still dominate accounting for a combined 70% of retail sales in 2008. This compares to 77% of sales in 2003 as newer styles of world food soak up market share, particularly Mexican which has grown by 20% between 2006 and 2008.

CJ Antal Smith continues: “Our customers are the best judges of quality and varying tastes and as such sponsoring the Product of the Year reflects the role and responsibility that ASDA has, to ensure they get the very best that is on offer.”

This year’s World Food Awards promise to serve up a true delight of world entertainment, headed by comedy legend Lenny Henry who returns to host the Awards for the second year.

Speaking about this year’s event Lenny Henry said: “Coming from a Jamaican background myself, I think it’s fantastic how practically every ethnicity is represented in this unique celebration of world food. I had a fantastic experience last year, so am delighted to be back and looking forward to meeting this year’s nominees and winners. It’s one event that you can attend knowing that the food is going to be great!”

The World Food Awards are open exclusively to companies specialising, promoting or stocking products from the following countries: Asian, Oriental, African, Afro-Caribbean, European, East-European, Middle Eastern, South American and Mediterranean.

The event will again feature a glittering line-up of entertainment and glamour, including performances from leading artists and a host of celebrities, sports personalities and acclaimed chefs to present the awards.

This year’s high-profile judging panel consists of some of the UK’s most respected industry experts, including Adam Leyland, Editor of The Grocer, Simon Numphud, Head of AA inspectors and Mintel’s Director of Innovation & Insight David Jago. KPMG’s Sheel Gill will again audit the judge’s results to ensure complete confidence in the judging process.

For further details please visit: www.worldfoodawards.com

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