Discover the top 20 taste-bud tongue twisters

February 1, 2016 by The Co-operative Food

UK taste-buds may have gone global in recent years, but the native tongue has struggled to keep pace with our changing tastes. Our latest research reveals the top taste-bud tongue twisters which are confusing people up and down the country.

Over two thirds of shoppers mispronounce the superfood Quinoa (keen-wah), with the majority unknowingly saying the word as ‘Qui-noah’ instead! Whilst almost six out of ten pronounce prosciutto (pro-shoot-tow) incorrectly, and over half struggle with Rioja.

Those preferring to say ‘Sia-Batt-er’ rather than ‘Chi-a-batter’ (Ciabatta) are pronouncing it all wrong – who knew? While the ever popular spicy Spanish sausage Chorizo is the most likely to be mispronounced, with just a quarter of shoppers saying it correctly.

The research revealed the top 20 foods which leave us tongue tied in shopping aisles and restaurants, with Tzatziki, Bouillabaise, Ceviche, Parmigiano Reggiano and Edamame topping the table.

  1. Tzatziki
  2. Bouillabaisse
  3. Ceviche
  4. Parmigiano Reggiano
  5. Edamame
  6. Acai
  7. Nicoise
  8. Chipotle
  9. Manchego
  10. Prosciutto
  11. Crudites
  12. Gnocchi
  13. Quinoa
  14. Habanero
  15. Maraschino
  16. Bouillon
  17. Rioja
  18. Halloumi
  19. Anise
  20. Guacamole

In true stiff upper lip British style, over half of those surveyed said that they would not correct someone they heard mispronouncing a food word, so it looks like Quin-noah might be here to stay for a while!

After nearly half of customers said they thought shops could do more to help provide some pronunciation tips, we’ve decided to introduce in store information such as shelf tickets to help shoppers pronounce the names of these increasingly popular foods. We’ll also be supporting our customer team members by launching a pronunciation guide – with the help of The Oxford English Dictionary’s Head of Pronunciation, Dr Catherine Sangster as well as Scottish comedian, Susan Calman.

Breige Donaghy, Head of Product Development at Co-op Food said:

“We have seen a steady rise in sales of international foods and drinks as our customers increase their repertoire of evening meal recipes and choices of food on the go and snacks.  From Spanish tapas, Italian meats and cheeses to Indian specialities and of course wines from around the world, they are all becoming more mainstream items in our cupboards and fridges.

“However, we know through research that our customers and indeed, many Co-op store staff, are unsure  of how to pronounce these food products correctly, which is why we have introduced a pronunciation training guide for store staff on the most popular products and a variety of shelf tickets for customers. We want to make it easier for customers to ask for a product they want but don’t know how to pronounce”

Find out more by reading our Mispronunciation Guide and discover more about the top 20 taste-bud tongue twisters!



Co-op Survey: January 2016, 2000 respondents

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