Add Hispanic Spice to Supermarket Sales

Add Hispanic Spice to Supermarket Sales

December 4, 2013

Hispanics will be a leading growth source for food retailers and brand marketers, for decades to come.  Among the reasons: their robust spending on food and beverage, high degree of brand loyalty, frequent cooking at home, and hefty forecasts for their U.S. population growth.

Supermarkets that understand their shopping, purchase and usage habits in greater detail can more effectively meet their needs.  Some chains already stand out—such as Pro’s Ranch Markets, Fiesta Mart and Sedano’s—but the industry as a whole could leverage more insights to better meet their needs and tap into an anticipated $1.5 trillion of Hispanic buying power by 2015.  Insights from recent studies should help.

To engage U.S. Hispanic shoppers, for example, retailers and CPG brands should “communicate meal solutions to the Hispanic family in a way that interests both mother and child….Since Hispanic children have a lot of influence on purchase decisions in the stores…engage [them] with item placement and promotional materials in key categories,” urges The Why Behind the Buy Hispanic report from AMG Strategic Advisors, a consulting unit of Acosta.

Mealtime is family time in Hispanic households, and getting to that point is a collaborative process.  “When the Hispanic shopper heads to the store, she is probably accompanied by her children and focused on the needs of her family,” states the report.  The influence of children on food and beverage choices magnifies because:

  • 68% of Hispanics say over the past year they cook more often at home vs. 52% of the general population
  • 59% bring snacks/foods from home to work/school vs. 55% of the general population

These are the categories where Hispanic children have the most influence on purchases:

  • Frozen desserts 37% vs. 27% of the total U.S. population
  • Crackers 34% vs. 22% of total U.S.
  • Shelf-stable juices/drinks 30%, the same as the total U.S.
  • Baking mixes 19% vs. 17% of the total U.S.
  • Canned soup 18% vs. 13% of the total U.S.

Chief Hispanic household shoppers are also the consummate trip planners.  Seven out of 10 (69%) say they use technology devices to plan grocery trips vs. 61% of the total U.S. population. And they visit stores more often, frequently in groups, to replenish the fresher foods they consume at a higher rate than the total U.S. population.  Indeed, 47% say they eat healthy foods even though they’re more expensive vs. 40% of total U.S. shoppers.  They do this, even though their overall intent (67%) is to select products to create more meals at the lowest cost vs. 63% of total U.S. shoppers.  One example: Hispanics index at 230 (where 100=average) on their purchases of dried vegetables and grains, according to Nielsen Homescan data (UPC-coded products only) for the total U.S. 52 weeks ended December 29, 2012.

This “healthy” insight tends to corroborate an earlier NPD Group report, National Eating Trends Hispanic, which found that “ready-to-eat, fresh and from scratch are the most common food forms during Hispanic meal preparation.”  NPD noted that U.S. Hispanic Millennials prefer Hispanic dishes that reflect their heritage—and that Hispanic dishes (excluding frozen) are part of 7% of all meals the Hispanic Millennials consume vs. 2% of non-Hispanic Millennial meals.