The New Zealand palate has typically been defined by English-style food: fish and chips, Watties tomato sauce, Weetbix, pavlovas, pies and the like.
But it seems as though what’s on the menu for Kiwis is changing and diversifying as New Zealand becomes more of a multicultural society.
Case in point: Fast food chain KFC, frequented by patrons who are hungover and in need of a greasy bucket of fried chicken, has stepped up and begun offering rice on its menu.
Part of the inspiration behind the move was no doubt to bring them a little extra publicity, but at least it’s healthier than KFC’s previous stunts, which includes the ‘Double Down’ burger.
The calorie-filled creation consisted of two chicken fillets encasing bacon, two types of melted cheese, and sauce.
KFC says it’s added rice to the menu to cater to New Zealand’s changing cultural demographic, as overall rice consumption has increased 30 percent since 2005.
Kiwis now eat 16,401 tonnes of it, or 3.56 kgs each year.
This corresponds with recent statistics surrounding New Zealand’s increasing Asian population.
Statistics New Zealand found that in 2013, there were 171,411 people in New Zealand that identified as Chinese (4.3 percent).
A further 155,178 people identified as Indian (3.9 percent).
The survey showed the Asian population in New Zealand continued to grow, almost doubling in size since 2001 to 11.8 percent.
KFC’s marketing director Clark Wilson says the company decided to put rice on the menu after research showed rice is a staple food item for many Kiwi families.
The result is the Rice Box meal (pictured) which is somewhat of a cultural melting pot in itself. It boasts popcorn chicken, rice, spring onion and carrots.
“While this is the first time rice has been made available on the menu down under, Rice Box meals have been well received in other markets,” Wilson says.
They aren’t the first to make their food offering more multicultural.
Foodstuffs also made targeted product changes in “ethnoburbs”, or multi-ethnic communities.
Foodstuffs North Island general manager of merchandise Baden Ngan Kee told The Register the company has observed clusters of particular ethnic populations and is looking at better ways to serve them.
He said to cater to the growing Asian community in Albany and the North Shore, two Pak’n Save stores were offering whole fish on ice, as the Asian community likes to have whole fish that’s been scaled and gutted.
Several New World and Pak’n Save stores also have goat meat and Indian herbs and spices to cater to the customer demographic in the area.