Hispanic Millennials Could Drive the New Food World

Hispanic Millennials Could Drive the New Food World

August 12, 2015

Supermarkets setting their long-term strategies should do so with eyes trained on Hispanic millennials, because they’re projected to be the fastest-growing and most influential population group in the United States.

The nation’s 83.1 million millennials are “far more diverse than the generations that preceded them with 44.2% being part of a minority race or ethnic group,” state 2014 U.S. Census Bureau figures. Also, the nation’s children under five became “majority-minority for the first time [50.2%],” Census says.

Within this context, the youngest generations of Hispanics outpace the numbers of older Hispanics in the U.S. Millennials already account for 27% and Generation Z 35% of the nation’s Hispanic population, according to Geoscape, American Marketscape DataStream 2014 data cited by ThinkNow research and Sensis in their Hispanic Millennial Project. Some 40% of Hispanic millennials are foreign-born, notes Experian Simmons. Yet Pew Research Center says 68% of Hispanics in the U.S. are proficient in English, up from 59% in 2000.

According to the ThinkNow/Sensis study, Hispanic millennials relate to foods and beverages in eight key ways:

  • As foodies, they lead the preference for whole foods.
  • The U.S.-born use food and beverage to connect to their cultural roots.
  • The foreign-born consume mass-market brands to assimilate into mainstream culture.
  • They prefer established brands to craft or artisanal.
  • They actively grocery shop, yet are less likely to research deals or seek coupons before the trip.
  • They connect beer drinking to culture and friendship.
  • They enjoy tequila as much as vodka.
  • They inspire non-Hispanic white millennials to embrace ethnic flavors.

Moreover, their larger households (3.5 people) spend a mean $149 per week on groceries, more than non-Hispanic white millennials ($136, 3.1), Asian millennials ($119, 3.0), and African-American millennials ($105, 3.1), the study shows.

Nearly three out of four Hispanic shoppers (74%) report they enjoy grocery shopping – more than the 58% of total U.S. shoppers who say this. It is a social experience for them: 77% shop with another person, almost always family, according to a joint Acosta/Univision The Why Behind The Buy study.  

Hispanic millennials use this as an opportunity to explore new items: 57% in the 25-34 age bracket say they often try new flavors/products vs. 50% of Hispanics overall. Their highest incidence is in fresh meat (67%), fresh produce (67%), refrigerated juices and drinks (56%) and yogurt (54%), the Acosta/Univision data show.

This article is adapted from the original, by Al Heller, which appeared in Facts, Figures & the Future (F3) on 8/4/15.