The Nepal Digest - November 1, 1993

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The Nepal Digest Thursday, 4 November 93 Volume 21: Issue 3

Today's Topics:

      5. Jibro ko Kura: Spicy food is in.
      6. Taja_Khabar: News from Nepal III
      7. Kura_Kani: Nature-Tourism
      8. Bhool_Sudhar: Wrong singer

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1993 13:39:03 -0600 Forwarded by: "Rajpal J. Singh" <a10rjs1@MP.CS.NIU.EDU Subject: Spicy Food Is In!


By Cacilie Rohwedder Staff Reporter 10/27/93

BRUSSELS -- Consumers' growing taste for foreign flavors is spicing up sagging supermarket sales, as ethnic food is turning into one of Europe's hottest-selling product groups.
   In Germany alone, sales of Mexican, Asian and southern European dishes are showing double-digit growth, according to a recent study by Nestle SA, the Swiss food group. "U.K. Ethnic Food Report," a survey of the British market by market research firm Leatherhead Food RA, says sales of exotic foods -- not including Italian, Spanish and Greek specialties -- grew by 100% between 1988 and 1992. In other European markets, too, food producers increasingly are adding foreign fare to their product ranges.
   "We clearly notice a tendency to spiciness," says Jean-Claude Jamar, managing director at H.J. Heinz Co.'s European operations.
"People take more trips abroad, there are more foreign restaurants, and there's something like a colonial culture (in many European countries) with old recipes. All of this gives some impetus for more spicy food."
   Retailers tend to welcome ethnic foods for their trendy image, high margins and strong sales. Premium-priced ready-to-eat meals make up a large portion of the ethnic-food segment, and the ethnic recipes tend to be even more expensive than traditional dishes. At a Belgian supermarket, for instance, the Indonesian Bami Goreng or Indian Madras Curry varieties of Unilever NV's Pronto frozen-food line cost 139 Belgian francs ($3.72), compared with 115 francs for less exotic Lasagna or Moussaka versions. In 13 of 22 product classes, more than half the German retailers surveyed by Nestle said ethnic foods yield higher margins than local cuisines. Many retailers said products such as cappuccino, espresso, olive oil, ready-to-eat meals and exotic fruits offer the rare combination of high margins and strong volume growth at the same time.
   "These products tend to grow more," says a spokesman for Germany's Hertie Waren- & Kaufhaus GmbH, a chain of department stores with large grocery departments. But he says the trend is more pronounced in large cities. Ethnic food is also more popular among young consumers. For instance, of the 2,000 Germans polled for Nestle, 32% of shoppers younger than 35 said they are enthusiastic about foreign food, compared with only 6% of those over 55. Appetite for ethnic food also varies among European countries. Marjorie Brown, operations manager with Bruce Foods Corp.'s European subsidiary, says the company's Casa Fiesta Mexican-food brand is selling best in countries with less-developed national culinary cultures. Both Casa Fiesta and Old El Paso, the rival brand by St. Louis-based Pet Inc., are particularly successful in Britain and Scandinavia. "France and Germany have their own cuisine; they are more insular," says Ms. Brown.
   The Mexican-food craze is also benefiting beverage makers. Tequila sales are a rare exception to generally stagnating spirits sales, and Mexican beers are conquering a permanent place in bars and even supermarkets. European sales of Corona Extra, for instance, increased by 45% last year, after a 350% jump in 1991, one year after the product was introduced in Europe. Cerveceria Modelo SA, Corona's Mexican producer, attributes the beer's appeal to both trendiness and its lower calorie content. On average, Corona costs twice as much as a bottle of domestic beer. Christopher Wickham, a beverage analyst with Lehman Brothers International, says many consumers can afford superpremium products because they're cutting back on alcohol in general.
   Industry experts say the success of Mexican food might be matched by Asian dishes. The U.K. ethnic food report predicts the Mexican-food segment will grow by 40% before 1995. Chinese and Indian products are expected to increase by 25%, while Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian specialties are forecast to double over the same period. "Thai food is absolutely taking off," says Allyson Stewart at Allyson Associates International Consultants in London.
"French and Italian is so close to home that it's not exotic anymore."
   Manufacturers are quick to capitalize on Europeans' growing taste for Asian food. An average Belgian supermarket already sells four kinds of shrimp-flavored "Kroekpoek" chips from Indonesia. Nestle recently opened a factory in China to produce dim sum dumplings. The company also added a "Taste of Asia" line to its Findus frozen food range. And Masterfoods, a division of Mars Inc., is planning to launch a Thai-style hot satay sauce and Indonesian Bami Pangang on the British market -- only a year after its Asian-style Suzy Wan brand was introduced there.
   With its emphasis on fish and vegetables, Asian cuisine benefits from a healthy image in Europe. Stefan Riederer von Paar, a 29-year-old engineering student from Aachen, Germany, says for that reason, Chinese food is one of the few things he cooks just for himself. Mr. Riederer has had a Chinese wok cooking pan for several years but says he also likes to buy "supercheap" dry soups or Chinese noodle mixes.
   Marketers say the key ingredient to success with ethnic recipes is educating consumers. Many new products are accompanied by in-store demonstrations and cookbooks. SDV SA, a French importer of American, Mexican and Indian foods, also redesigns the goods' packaging and translates foreign measurements into French units.
"You can't just put a sticker on a foreign product," says Patrick Kierans, marketing manager at Patak Spices Ltd., a British producer of Indian recipes that recently began exporting to France. "You need a new marketing approach that's appropriate and appealing." He says Patak is struggling against the common misconception that all Indian food is hot.
   The popularity of ethnic food is also affecting cooking accessories, such as spices and sauces. Ostmann Gewuerze, a German spice producer, recently launched Chop Suey, Bami Goreng, Nasi Goreng and Sweet and Sour Pork mixes, all in black paper bags with yellow Chinese characters. Sauces, meanwhile, are a convenient way for consumers to satisfy their growing interest in variety, according to Heinz's Mr. Jamar. Besides ketchup, Heinz sells Mexican, chili and barbecue sauces, as well as an "exotic" formula.
   "Penetration of wet cooking sauces has more than doubled in the last four years," says a recent report by Masterfoods, the maker of the Suzy Wan, Ragu, Dolmio, Homepride and Uncle Ben's sauce brands. But in the sauce segment, non-European tastes are also on the rise. Italian sauces, which still account for almost half of the British sauce market, grew by 25% between January and August of this year, compared with 51% in the Indian segment and a 41% jump for Mexican recipes.
   So far the recession hasn't damped Europeans' hunger for comparatively expensive ethnic foods. "Innovative premium products isn't what's being hurt right now," explains Bertrand Facon, a food expert with Credit Suisse First Boston Ltd. in London. "It's only the traditional products that don't innovate."

************************************************************* From: (Dileep Agrawal) Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1993 16:49:38 -0500 (EST)

HEADLINE: india, nepal to identify areas of joint ventures

   a joint study team consisting of experts from india and nepal has been formed to evaluate the status of bilateral trade and joint ventures. this was the result of a recent visit to india by vinod chaudhry, president of the federation of nepalese chambers of commerce and industry. the team will identify the potential areas of joint ventures, assess the transit costs to
 nepal and suggest ways and means to reduce it. construction of the broad gauge railway link from raxol and patlian in nepal will act as a booster to the indian industrialists who want to set up units in that country. nepal is rich in hydro potential and the private sector can play a part in exploitation with indian counterparts in this field.

HEADLINE: industrial relations forum to be set up in nepal

   an "industrial relations forum" will be set up to develop and extend industrial relations in nepal. the decision has been taken by the federation of nepalese chambers of commerce and industry (fncci) and the friedrich nauman foundation of germany. an agreement to this effect was signed here between an objective of developing sound and beneficial industrial relations in nepal by carrying out various activities like conducting research, workshops and seminars, preparing directories and launching manpower development programs. according to the agreement, development assistance ministry of germany would provide grants to the forum for three years. a governing council will also be formed for the disbursement of budget and smooth functioning of the forum.

HEADLINE: nepal's main opposition deplores kashmir shooting

   president of the communist party of nepal (uml) manmohan adhikari has condemned and deplored the shooting of the peaceful and unarmed demonstrators i n the india-controlled kashmir. "we are very unhappy to note that india is repeating the same mistake in the case of hazratbal in kashmir," said the cpn-uml president in a statement issued on friday. the nepal's main opposition leader said that the recent developments in kashmir have been a source of worry and anxiety, adding that hazratbal in kashmir is not only a mos t sensitive issue for the kashmiri people but also an issue affecting the most sensitive feelings of the islamic people and islamic states all over the world. adhikari stressed that the kashmir issue can be resolved by india and pakistan on the basis of the shimla spirit with full respect for the wishes and sentiments of the kashmiri people. he hoped that the relations between india and pakistan would go on improving in the years to come.

DATELINE: lhasa, october 30; ITEM NO: 1030160

   gyaincain norbu, chairman of the people's government of china's tibet autonomous region, met here today with nepalese prime minister girija prasad koirala and his ten-member party. gyaincain norbu conveyed greetings to the prime minister from chinese premier li peng, who also wished the visit a complete success. the nepalese prime minister expressed appreciation for premier li peng's friendly attitude toward nepal. briefing the guests on the situation in tibet, gyaincain norbu said that the region has made great progres s under the leadership of the chinese central government in the past few decades. tibet now enjoys political stability and economic growth, and the people are content, he added. he noted that tibet is willing to develop co-operative relations in all fields with nepal. the prime minister said nepal does not permit any country to use it to interfere in china and tibet. he also conveyed through gyaincain norbu his best regards and good wishes to the chinese government and people. at the invitation of the chinese government, the nepalese prime minister arrived here today to begin a seven-day private visit t o tibet. the prime minister and his party were greeted by gyaincain norbu and other tibetan leaders at the lhasa airport. on arriving at their residence, the lhasa holiday inn, they were welcomed by some 100 people of all local nationalities.

HEADLINE: nepalese pm leaves for lhasa, tibet
   nepalese prime minister girija prasad koirala left here today for lhasa to start his one-week private visit to china's tibet autonomous region. this is koirala's first visit to tibet since his assumption of the kingdom's prime minister and also the first nepalese prime minister visiting tibet. before his departure at the airport, the prime minister told xinhua that the friendly relations between nepal and china have been existing since the time memorable

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