Adapt Foreign Products to Local Needs

In many countries. there seems to be an appeal for something foreign to interest the locals. This is especially true for food. For instance, Chinese food is prevalent in the countries such as the United States, Britain, Europe and Australia. On the other hand, western food is common in Asian and African countries. The photo above shows an outlet selling Singapore Chicken Rice in Japan.

However, if you ask a Chinese whether the Chinese food in the US is authentic, the answer is probably negative. Western food are easier to copy to a certain extent. Obviously, foods that require fresh ingredients that are hard to get in a foreign country especially in winter tends to taste less authentic.

There is nothing wrong with the Chinese food not tasting authentic to the Chinese in the US. In fact, when the outlet serving Chinese food started, the taste was probably more authentic. Over the years, it had received feedback from its many customers, most of them being non-Chinese Americans. As a result, the outlet had finetuned its recipe to adapt to the taste preferred by the majority. The majority, thus , were not Chinese.

One of the reasons for establishing an outlet selling foreign food to locals may be based on nostalgia. The outlet selling Singapore Chicken Rice in Japan could be trying to attract Japanese and non-Japanese customers who reminisce enjoying the food in Singapore.

Whatever it is, the point of this article is to stress the importance of adapting to local taste. This is absolutely necessary for those trying to serve the mass market. If the food that you are serving does not appeal to the locals, no matter how authentic, there would not be much demand. The adaptation mentioned here may also include the sugar or salt levels or things like amount of oil or spiciness. Another important factor could be the availability or more accurately, the cost of ingredients. This could lead to the use of substitutes in place of the authentic ingredient.

A good example is McDonald’s which came up with non-meat hamburgers in India to serve the locals who tend to be vegetarians. Indian curries served in outlets in the US, Britain, Europe, Australia tend to be less spicy hot than the authentic version.

Of course, someone setting up a high end restaurant may want to be much more authentic that the mass market outlet. Even so, there had to be some level of adaptation to the local palate.

That is food for thought for your start up idea.


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