Hispanic shoppers gravitate towards whole health claims, study finds
- A new report from IRI concludes there’s no one-size fits all way for grocers to appeal to the U.S.'s growing Hispanic population. Like other consumers, Hispanic shoppers like to fill their grocery carts with a mix of healthy and indulgent products. IRI found that 36% of Hispanic shoppers said they eat healthy half the time and eat whatever they want the rest of the time, and another 36% said they eat healthy 80% of the time and treat themselves 20% of the time.
- Halo Top, Hillshire Snacking, Chobani drinks, Good Thins, Oscar Mayer Natural and Dunkin Donuts’ iced coffee were among the top-selling food and beverages among Hispanic shoppers in 2017, according to IRI. Nearly half of products most popular with Hispanics highlight natural, organic, herbal or holistic features — attributes that are increasingly popular with consumers overall.
- Retailers hoping to reach this market should understand the needs of different segments of the Hispanic population. “Hispanics are a highly diverse group, based on factors such as age, income, media preferences and language preference — English-preferred, bilingual or Spanish-preferred,” Staci Covkin, principal of consumer and shopper marketing for IRI, said. “Attracting Hispanics requires an understanding of these language preferences, along with their digital and social preferences.”
Although, as IRI notes, Hispanic buying power is concentrated in select markets, including Texas, California, Florida, New York and Illinois, retailers throughout the country would do well to appeal to this fast-growing demographic. Hispanics make up about 17% of the population, and nearly one in four babies born in the U.S. is Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census. Latinos spends more the $94.7 billion each year on CPG products.
Additionally, a study from Acosta and Univision finds that Hispanic shoppers are more profitable than total U.S. shoppers, because even though per-trip spending is similar between the two groups, Hispanic consumers go to the grocery store more frequently than other U.S. shoppers. And high numbers of bilingual and English-speaking Hispanics consider themselves avid new product adopters, IRI notes, especially in food and beverages.
An IRI report released in April shows that trends among Hispanic shoppers mirror the overall public: Food and beverage launches that combine health and indulgence are a hit. Among consumers overall, Halo Top was the clear leader, raking in $324.2 million in sales. The ice cream company was followed by Good Thins, Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee, Nestle Splash and LIFEWTR in IRI’s annual New Product Pacesetters report.
Despite preference overlap, retailers should market to specific Hispanic populations. First- and second-generation Hispanic consumers, for instance, have diverging tastes in key product categories, research shows. Whether marketing ethnic foods or mainstream CPG items, retailers would do well to suggest ways their products fit those cultural desires, perhaps by suggesting new recipes or menus for dishes that can be shared.
A cultural shift is underway: the number of Hispanics born in the U.S. is growing while the number of those born in other countries is in sharp decline. And while native-born Hispanics communicate mostly in English and shop at non-ethnic stores, they still consume traditional foods, in addition to enjoying new mainstream items such as Halo Top. Mainstream supermarkets that don’t sell Hispanic foods are leaving money on the table, says a report from Rincón & Associates, but they also must market other CPG items to Hispanic shoppers, either by including some Spanish signage or including them in general marketing appeals. Likewise, although foreign-born Hispanics continue to shop at ethnic stores like Fiesta Mart and Supermercado El Rancho, they are increasingly shopping at Walmart, too, and are increasingly buying both ethnic and non-ethnic foods.
As IRI’s Covkin suggests, when launching a new CPG product, food companies should include marketing strategies developed specifically to meet the needs of various Hispanic populations — whose food and beverage preferences now reach beyond the traditional foods — in order to maximize sales and profits.