Fast Food: A Growing Trend among South Asians

Fries, cheeseburgers, shakes, and cola…the obsession with fast food is a hallmark of childhood. However, for South Asian Canadians, the allure long outlasts the fascination with colourful mascots.

Despite being fast food fanatics, surprisingly few fast food franchises court the South Asian crowd, apart from when they have a new vegetarian item on offer. This springs from a misconception that most South Asians in Vancouver are vegetarians, an error that comes from a poor understanding of the complexity and variety of cultures present—as well as generational trends.

The term South Asian encompasses a broad spectrum of people whose ethnic roots originate from the Indian subcontinent: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Bhutan. This results in a cosmopolitan population of distinct backgrounds, languages, and belief systems.

While the Hindu population from India generally avoids meat, over 65% of the South Asian population in Vancouver are Sikh. Additionally, eating habits among the different types of South Asians changing with every generation. In fact, according to the 2016 South Asian Health Report created by the Fraser Health Authority, a significantly higher percentage of South Asians (17%) reported eating fast food three or more times per week, compared to the mainstream population (13%).

As more data becomes available, it’s likely that a new wave of businesses and organizations will attempt to build relationships where these natural synergies exist. However, as a group that self-identifies as brand loyal, it’s likely that the early advertisers will reap the greatest rewards.

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If you want to learn more about the South Asian community, why not download our white paper “Why South Asians are the new Mainstream” to learn how you can communicate with this vibrant community.