Franjul of Food Lion says Puerto Ricans also are inclined to buy more plantains and roots, while Mexicans buy more jicama and chili peppers.
The Hispanic community can be segmented into groups based on their acculturation levels, too. FMI’s study separated Hispanics into Spanish-preferred, bilinguals and English-preferred consumers. Shopping preferences differed significantly between the three groups. One statistic showed that Spanish-preferred consumers cooked Hispanic meals 91% of the time, while English-preferred consumers cooked Hispanic meals only 45% of the time.
EMPLOYEES AND COMMITMENT
In order to successfully target Hispanics, familiarize yourself with your local Hispanic consumers.
One way to learn about Hispanic product preferences and shopping behavior is to ask ethnic employees to recommend restaurants and then bring them along to explain the dishes, according to “Grow with America: Best Practices in Ethnic Marketing and Merchandising,” published by the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America. Find out how meals are prepared. When are they eaten? What are the ingredients?
Or bring prepared and packaged ethnic foods to merchandising meetings to introduce buyers, merchandisers and category managers to new items and brands. The study recommentsscoping out leading ethnic supermarkets on a regular basis.
Another option is to surf the Internet and look through cookbooks for recipes. Take note of staple ingredients that often come up: produce, condiments, herbs, meats and grocery items.
Also consider hiring Hispanic employees to help interact with Hispanic shoppers. Atkinson says Buy for Less, which is paying for him to take Spanish classes this fall, has four Hispanic produce personnel.
Suppliers can play a role in interacting with Hispanic consumers, too. According to the May 2001 “Grocery Headquarters,” published by Windsor Marketing Group, employees at Presidente Supermarkets, Miami, receive Spanish-language training from supplier International Systems & Electronics Corp., also based in Miami.
FMI’s Jaketic says that having Hispanic employees is an added bonus, but it is more important for employees to be educated about Hispanic produce items.
“Having associates there that know the products will help attract and retain Hispanic consumers,” she says.