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Taste Buds are Neither Hispanic nor American, but Bicultural

By Vickie Allande-Fite, SVP, MSLGROUP Los Angeles (Hispanic Specialty Lead)

In the U.S., every 30 seconds, two non-Hispanics reach retirement age and one Latino turns 18. Hispanics are coming of age and wielding $1.5 trillion in buying power. The community is clearly an influential growing segment of consumers. Food marketers, to successfully engage Hispanic audiences, need to understand the factors driving their consumption behaviors.

Consumers are out-spending for Love

Already, Hispanic consumers spend more on total basket than non-Hispanics. While true that Hispanic households tend to have more mouths to feed, it should be noted that all those bodies share an emotional commitment to regroup daily for a meal. Food marketers need to recognize that breakfast, lunch and dinner in Hispanic homes are seen as opportunities for a memorable, emotionally rewarding experience, and that is the primary motivator for buying fresher ingredients, higher-quality cuts of meat, etc.

Key takeaway: Hispanic purchase behavior is not driven by functional product benefits but the emotional payoff of the meal experience.

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Taste Buds are Neither Hispanic nor American, but Bicultural

For a long time, U.S. Hispanics were simply segmented as either acculturated (typically U.S. born, English dominant) or nonacculturated (typically foreign-born, Spanish dominant). Focusing on the non-acculturated

Hispanic is common practice but short-sighted, as this is the shrinking (aging) segment and they tend to be already solidly committed to brands and menu patterns from their country of origin. The bigger opportunity for food marketers lies with the hybrids, a relatively newer segment called the Bicultural Hispanics. These Latinos seamlessly shift between their Hispanic roots and new-found American traditions. Typically bilingual and English dominant, already half (44%) of U.S.

Hispanics fall into this grouping and they will soon be the majority. They have higher education, with matching higher incomes. They have greater interest in nutrition and within reason are open to adjusting family recipes in favor of healthier options.

Key takeaway: The largest opportunity for food marketers is with Bicultural Hispanics who desire foods/meals/menu options that satisfy their diverse cravings.

What’s cooking?
Hemisfares, Kroger’s multicultural private food brand, includes popular regional fare from around the world.

Foods and meal patterns that address health issues move to the front of the line

According to the most recent Census, Hispanics are the least likely racial or ethnic group to seek medical care, resulting in them being largely unaware of risk factors and how diet can help protect against diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is now considered at epidemic levels within the community with Hispanics nearly twice as likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes as non-Hispanics, and an estimated one in three U.S. Hispanic adults are already pre-diabetic.

Key takeaway: Eating healthier for the betterment of the community is a growing priority.

Easy, affordable recipes are a strategic way in

New research tracks that the majority of Hispanic millennials like cooking at home and over 40% wish they could cook more often. Like others of their generation, they are pressed for time in their daily routines and cite being short on ideas for easy and affordable meals.

Key takeaway: Invest in recipe development.

This article is a part of MSLGROUP’s report The Future of Food Communications: Winning Share of Mouth in the Conversation Age.

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