Consumers love tickling their taste buds with Italian, Mexican and Asian cuisine, so much that all three have become so mainstream, they're hardly considered ethnic anymore. However, according to Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD), lesser-known ethnic fare has enjoyed robust product growth in recent years, as ethnic-food lovers and their palates are hungry for more exotic ingredients and flavors.In 2010 alone, Mintel's GNPD tracked a 150 percent increase from 2009 in new food items that contained "Caribbean" in the product description. "Japanese" product launches soared more than 230 percent from 2009-2010. Meanwhile, "Thai" products launches saw a 68 percent increase from 2009- 2010. This increase in product launches may be due to the wide variety of outlets consumers have at their disposal to learn more about ethnic foods that aren't common to their ethnic background. In fact, 26 percent of ethnic food-lovers say they were introduced to the cuisine by TV programs, newspapers or magazines that feature cuisine from other countries, 23 percent say they were spurred to try them after reading cookbooks that include recipes for dishes that are popular in other countries, 18 percent developed a taste for ethnic chow after traveling abroad, and 25 percent say they were introduced to their favorite ethnic fare because they live in a diverse neighborhood where the food and ingredients are readily available. www.mintel.com.