CHESHUNT, England – Despite the sluggish world economy, upscale French food is the fastest-growing cuisine in the UK, confirms Tesco Real Food. Volume sales of French ready-made meals and desserts from all retailers in 2010 increased 16%, stated independent retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel (Jan 2011). Behind French cuisine growth (16%), the UK’s other fastest-growing cuisines are Chinese (15%), British (6.7%), Italian (6.6%) and Tex-Mex (3.2%).

Year-on-year sales growth for Tesco’s French food is 27%. As a result of increasing consumer demand for French food, Tesco launched its first dedicated line called French Classics. For 2010, Tesco has seen the following volume sales increases for particular French dishes: Chicken Chasseur, 26%; Steak Diane, 32%; Coq au Vin, 34%; Steak au Poivre, 37%; Salmon en Croute,73%; and Tarte Au Citrons, 82%.

"French food has never been more popular in Britain than it is right now and that may seem unusual given the tough economic times because it's a cuisine which has always been perceived as being expensive,” said Stephanie Bacon, Tesco food developer, who helped create the French Classic line.

This spring Tesco plans to add Beef Bourguignon, Chicken Diane and Crab Gratin. Chefs behind the creation of these dishes have worked in restaurants that were awarded Michelin Stars, the company said.