The exponential growth of Hispanic communities has altered the focus of brand communications. As the authors of Marketing to the New Majority suggest regarding the spike in “minority” audiences – the new mainstream is itself multicultural. As the fabric of the consumer landscape evolves, the intersection of food and family for the Hispanic consumer is ripe with nuanced perspective tied to cultural values and identity.
Hispanic consumers will have a significant impact on food culture in the next five years. NPD Group’s Future of Eating: Who’s Eating What in 2018? predicts that Hispanic preferences and influence will uniquely shape demand and choices in the grocery aisle. Naturally, Hispanics are proportionally represented within the Gen Z (0-23) and Gen Y (24-37) segments; making these younger audiences hyper-relevant for food manufacturers and retailers.
When it comes to food shopping, there’s clear evidence that Hispanic consumers assign special value to fresh grocery options. According to Nielsen research, Hispanic shoppers spend $175 more than the national average annually on fresh foods at traditional grocery stores. The perimeter departments – meat, produce, deli, bakery and seafood – are priorities for Hispanics. Fresh stands for both quality and health; thematics that are increasingly relevant and aspirational for Hispanic consumers. Beyond these value-based reasons, Hispanics are increasingly choosing fresh food because they like cooking from scratch and customizing dishes with personal touches.
What it means + what to think about
The Hispanic shopper engagement dynamic is closely tied to perceived brand voice authenticity. In fact, 54 percent of Hispanics say they’re more loyal to companies that show culture appreciation by communicating in Spanish. Their language represents an important part of their roots and, much like food, it’s a strong cultural connector. Food industry brands from Honey Bunches of Oats to Wendy’s have successfully employed tailored communications and executions to bolster their connectivity with the Hispanic audience.
The Hispanic grocery shopping experience is a multi-generational, family-inclusive and social affair – offering multiple intersection points to cultivate brand advocates. Convenience and value remain important universal needs. However, today’s U.S. Hispanic segment has a fresh perspective with a keen focus on food options that allow them to build their meals rather than just buy them.
Consider some of these approaches to spark engagement with Hispanic consumers in the food aisle:
- Kitchen connections: The importance of food and the kitchen as a central pillar of Hispanic culture should not be underestimated. Research shows 75 percent of Hispanic families sit down for a meal together every day.
- Tech savy and mobile centric: Hispanics over-index for both smartphone (87 percent) and tablet (60 percent) ownership. They use devices in store and nearly 80 percent indicate that digital shopping tools have changed their shopping habits; 84.2 percent have searched for an online coupon based on a recommendation (compared to 70.6 percent of all consumers).
- Organics and nutrition factor: Simmons research indicates Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to look for organic or natural foods when shopping. Overall, Hispanics ages 18 to 29 are more likely than non-Hispanics to say that nutritional value is the most important factor in what food they eat.