How to attract 35 million Hispanic consumers

08/15/2002 12:00:00 AM
Elizabeth Ashby

(Aug. 15) By now you might have noticed the increasing number of Hispanic consumers shopping your stores. From 1990 to 2000, the Hispanic population in the U.S. grew by 58%, to 35.3 million. That number is expected to increase to 55.1 million by 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Some retailers have recognized this growth and have altered their corporate strategies to focus on Hispanics. Nash Finch Co., Edina, Minn., opened its first Avanza supermarket in Denver in late spring. The store is designed for Hispanic consumers, and the company has plans to open more Avanza stores across the Midwest.Albertson’s Inc., Boise, Idaho, which already has a Hispanic “plaza” format store in Orlando, Fla., is considering a Hispanic format store in Chicago, where it owns the city’s largest grocery chain, Jewel-Osco.

While creating an entire store for Hispanic consumers might not be in your budget, there are steps you can take to reap the benefits from this segment of the population.

HERE’S WHY

In November and December, the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, D.C., conducted a survey of Hispanic shoppers and supermarkets in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and earlier this year the organization published “U.S. Hispanics: Insights into Grocery Shopping Preferences and Attitudes 2002.” In the study, FMI found that 97% of Hispanics ranked high quality fruits and vegetables as the No. 1 reason they chose a grocery store.

The study also revealed that Hispanic purchasing power grew 160% between 1990 and 2001, from $208 billion to $542 billion, and that in 2000 Hispanic households spent $33.1 billion on food for use at home. Hispanic shoppers also spend $117 per week on groceries, compared to the $87 per week spent by all U.S. grocery shoppers.
“Perishables are so important because (Hispanics) believe that meals made from scratch are more nutritious than prepared meals,” says Michelle Del Toro Jaketic, research manager at FMI. “It all goes back to the Hispanic culture.”

According to the Hispanic Food Distributors Association, Chicago, Hispanic households cook dinner at home 5.6 times per week, which is more than Anglo households cook. Allen Lydick, consultant with Mexigrocers.com, Raleigh, N.C., says Hispanics eat out only 1.2 times per week on average, they spend 25% more on food to eat at home than Anglos, and they make 67% of their meals from scratch.

Jim Atkinson, produce manager and international buyer for the single Buy for Less store in Oklahoma City, says the company has identified Hispanics as a prime target group.


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