Asian Markets Not Just For Asians
By George Anderson
Go to Assi Plaza, a 54,000-square-foot Asian market in a suburb outside of Philadelphia, and you will find many shoppers of Asian heritage. Depending on the day, you are likely to find an equal number are not.
Store manager Jae Y. Lee estimates 40 percent of his customers are Korean, 25 percent are Chinese or Japanese and 30 percent are Caucasian.
“This is really an international market,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want to make this shop for the community. American people never feel they’re a minority here.”
Karen Brown, senior vice president at Food Marketing Institute, said the increase in the number of non-Asians shopping Asian markets is easy to understand. “They enjoy the food and want to prepare those dishes themselves,” she said.
Regardless of ancestry, shoppers are drawn to markets such as Assi Plaza for a very simple reason. They carry items not found in mainstream markets.
Ella Chung, a shopper at Assi Plaza, said, “The variety they have here is incomparable. We like to buy the produce and fish.”
Moderator’s Comment: What does the growing Asian population in suburbs and the growth of Asian markets mean for mainstream grocers?
Asian markets are becoming more common in suburban areas as new immigrants and second and third generation Asian Americans move from cities. The Census
Bureau predicts that the U.S. Asian and Pacific Islander population will double in size to 24 million by 2010. –
George Anderson – Moderator