For food manufacturers and retailers (and just about everyone else), bright spotlights shine on two powerhouse consumer groups for their growing purchasing power: Hispanic consumers and Millennials. But the upside multiplies exponentially when looking at the intersection of these two groups: Hispanic Millennials. With 21% of U.S. Millennials identifying as Hispanic, this group is certainly worthy of attention. These young, diverse consumers are shaking up shopping baskets across the U.S. as they straddle diverse tradition and American mainstream.
Hispanic consumers overall have some unique purchase patterns compared to the general U.S. population, such as their preference for fresh foods and tendency to make larger purchases to feed larger households. And some items are staples in any Hispanic shopping basket, including herbs, fresh fruit like pineapples and mangos, dry beans and shelf-stable milk products.
But with 62% of Hispanic Millennials being U.S.-born, the American lifestyle is influencing this generation more than their predecessors. When it comes to food preparation, most Hispanics (58%) prepare food at home, whereas Millennial Hispanics are shifting toward ready-made prepared foods. This means Hispanic Millennials, unlike their Boomer counterparts, index high for purchases of packaged meals, canned pasta and prepared meals from the fresh seafood department. Millennial Hispanics also purchase more deli-prepared breakfast foods and sushi.
For Hispanics, however, not all convenience foods are created equal. To succeed with the convenience-focused Hispanic Millennial, you have to get it right when it comes to both product and flavor. For example, in the fresh meat department, the value-added chicken segment (fresh chicken that has been prepared in some way, often with flavors/marinades), and specifically legs, drumsticks and thighs are key to reaching Hispanics. These chicken cuts index higher than other cuts with these consumers. But while this type of product appeals, the flavor also needs to be right. Flavors like adobo, cilantro and sazonada have seen significant growth. Over the past year, sales of Hispanic-flavored value-added chicken increased 98% in dollars and 71% in volume compared to a year ago.
While Hispanic Millennials are finding convenient and appealing products and flavors in the meat aisle, the availability of such products is just emerging in many other categories. These young consumers' appetite for ready-made food options that maintain their cultural ties remains strong. For manufacturers and retailers to connect with this increasingly powerful segment of the U.S. population, it’s essential to strike the balance between product, flavor and culture.
To learn more about the buying habits of Hispanic shoppers, download our webinar: “Fresh Foods are CPGs’ Gateway to the Hispanic Opportunity.”