How Hispanics buy frozen foods and snacks

August 03, 2012

Stretched between tradition and convenience when planning and preparing meals, Hispanics shop differently from non-Hispanics.

Hispanics should stay high on food marketers’ priority lists for decades to come, because of their population surge.  

In the near term, between 2011 and 2016, Hispanics will comprise 60% of U.S. population growth—7.4 million vs. 5.0 million, according to Nielsen’s State of the Hispanic Consumer: The Hispanic Market Imperative report.

By the year 2050, Hispanics are projected to account for 30.2% of the total U.S. population, up from 16.0% in 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau said. These forecasts follow a decade in which the Hispanic population rose 43.0% to 50.5 million in 2010.

Recognizing different food preferences among Hispanics based on their homelands.  some supermarkets prominently sign countries of origin for product assortments in their center-store aisles.   

A new study from Univision Communications and SmartRevenue, Hispanic 411:  Insights to Grow Your Business, reveals insights about how Hispanics shop for and buy snacks and frozen foods. By understanding their path to purchase in these categories, retailers and brands “may shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more shopper-centric marketing strategy,” said Elizabeth Ellers, executive vice president-corporate research at Univision.

She, along with Liz Sanderson, vice president-brand solutions at Univision, described key research findings in a webinar:
•    53% of Hispanics shop more than once a week vs. 39% of non-Hispanics.
•    Preparing traditional meals for family holds high value to Hispanics because the mealtime together is important, and it helps keep the Hispanic culture alive.  Yet time pressures create a need for more convenient foods.
•    Hispanics prepare “hybrid meals,” using some components from the frozen foods aisle, to bridge the divide between traditional tastes and convenience.  Just 46% of Hispanics rely on frozen foods to create an entire meal vs. 59% of non-Hispanics who do so.  Yet 42% of Hispanics do include frozen foods as part of the meal.  The frozen foods they buy most:  pancakes and waffles (47%).
•    Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to incorporate snacks throughout the day—by a 23% to 15% margin.  They are also likelier to consume snacks while at work.
•    Nearly 40% of Hispanics shop with their immediate family vs. 18% of non-Hispanics who do so.  This results in more than one in three Hispanics (36%) considering recommendations from friends or family when buying frozen foods vs. about one in five non-Hispanics (22%) who do so.
•    Six in ten Hispanics (59%) cite “knowing others will like it” as a factor when buying frozen foods vs. 36% of non-Hispanics. When buying snacks, the figures are 66% Hispanics vs. 58% non-Hispanics.