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The Growing Influence of U.S. Hispanics: Are you Ready?

Jun 1, 2017
Darren Seifer, Executive Director, Industry Analyst ;
Foodservice

If you’ve heard me speak in public then you’re well aware of how I describe change in food and beverage habits – slow like the movement of the tectonic plates, but this means you need to take many little steps over the years to ensure your long-term success.

We know Hispanics are a quickly growing group in the United States and they bring their culturally-based eating habits as they grow. Even those born into “American culture” are still emphasizing the importance of traditional Latin American cooking when they prepare family meals.

NPD’s continuing research on Hispanic consumption patterns has shown they prefer manufacturers to help them by saving time in the kitchen but not making the meals for them. In other words, pre-prepared tamales, tortillas, or other traditional foods are, in many ways, considered an infringement of their traditions and they would rather have the flexibility to control the end product and therefore the flavorings.

Beyond making foods simpler to prepare or helping Hispanics by reducing the time it takes to prepare ingredients, there are other ways to take those little steps along the path to long-term success. In this day and age of corporate transparency and responsibility, consumers are interested in knowing what happened to a product before it hit the store shelf. In other words, what are your production practices? Are you using natural ingredients? What causes does your company support? These all go a long way in satisfying consumers’ cultural needs and aligning with their values.

When it comes to Hispanics marketers need to think beyond their products and engage these consumers on a cultural level. Let them know you support the same causes that are important to them so that they not only enjoy the taste of your products but also feel pride in supporting a company that supports them back. And remember, consumption patterns will change – you just need to be patient so stick with your plan for the long haul.

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