- A study from Acosta and Univision finds that Hispanic shoppers are more profitable than total U.S. shoppers. The research shows that while spending per trip is similar between the two groups, Hispanic shoppers go to the grocery store more frequently than other U.S. shoppers.
- Hispanic consumers enjoy the meal planning experience more than other demographics, according to the report. At the grocery store, 79% of Hispanics shop with others — usually a spouse or children. With children accompanying the parent on a shopping trip 35% of the time, they have significant influence on products purchased.
- The majority (65%) of Hispanic shoppers enjoy trying new recipes and are interested exploring new foods. Some are also interested in using digital grocery tools, with 45% saying they are comfortable using online tools.
For many consumers, grocery shopping and meal preparation isn’t very exciting. But the research from Acosta and Univision paints a different picture for Hispanic shoppers, who often approach buying groceries as an enjoyable activity for couples and families rather than a solitary chore. Food shopping and meal preparation provide the chance to explore new ingredients and make new recipes.
This sentiment is a boon for grocers, especially with the increase of the Hispanic population — currently listed at 54 million, or 17% of the population, per Census data. That number is expected to double in the next 40 years. Many shoppers, especially first generation shoppers, look for ingredients and foods that are authentic and familiar. Increasingly, non-Hispanics also seek ethnic spices and dishes.
Hispanic and mainstream grocers see the opportunities of appealing to this growing customer base. Kroger, Publix and Walmart have started offering authentic products in key markets. Albertsons announced last month it would invest in the 16-store chain El Rancho Supermercado, which has a predominantly Hispanic consumer base.
Independent Hispanic grocers, meanwhile, are on the cusp of tremendous growth, similar to that seen for discount and organic grocers. These retailers have traditionally survived in neighborhoods where other grocers have failed, such as low income areas. Now, with a growing and loyal customer base, the time is right to scale up. Retailers like Fiesta Mart, Northgate Market and Cardenas Markets have expanded, but should be careful not to lose their customer base as they became more mainstream.
According to the 2016 Hispanic Foods and Beverages in the U.S. report, sales of Hispanic foods in the U.S. are expected to grow from $17.5 billion in 2015 to more than $21 billion in 2020 — a lucrative opportunity for both Hispanic retailers and traditional grocers looking to expand their ethnic food offerings.
What Hispanic grocers may already know, and what mainstream grocers can learn, is how to build upon the social aspect of grocery shopping that Hispanic shoppers enjoy. This could be as simple as offering free pieces of fresh fruit for children or setting up sampling stations families and friends can gather around as they shop. Grocers could also host cooking classes and in-store events for both adults and younger shoppers.