The U.S. is growing, aging and diversifying, which has a direct impact on consumer preferences. Ethnicity and culture are also shaping behaviors and trends. Notably, 56.6 million of the country’s 318 million people are Hispanic, and the U.S. Census expects that number to double by 2050.
The impact of multicultural consumers can be seen across the entire store, driving dollar growth in almost all segments of the perimeter and center of store. According to a recent Harris Poll, 49% of American adults say they would shop more at a retailer that offers a wider selection of multicultural products. With that in mind, it’s critical for manufacturers and retailers to think storewide to capitalize on the growing multicultural opportunity.
It’s also important to note that Hispanics aren’t just outspending on grocery categories. In fact, they’re also outspending in the health care and beauty care categories.
Hispanic influence goes beyond its own cultural group and will continue to infiltrate the mainstream. A recent Harris Poll indicated that more than one in four Americans believe that multicultural flavors are important, and almost one in three consume foods that contain multicultural flavors at least once a week. The unprecedented influence of multicultural consumers on the behavior of non-multicultural shoppers is expanding the multicultural market opportunity for manufacturers and retailers.
Innovative products with new flavors and imported products are impacting the food industry. Proximity to other cultures and the sharing of cultural influences, attitudes, and behaviors magnifies the multicultural opportunity for the food industry, but despite the cultural sharing taking place in the U.S. today, it is also critical to understand the nuances and preferences of each individual consumer.
While consumer backgrounds may differ and can affect consumer tastes, one trend is universal: the desire to be healthy. In fact, 64% of consumers are trying to buy healthier foods, and 53% say they will pay more for foods that promote health benefits.
So what brands do Hispanics look for when they’re shopping and looking to make healthy purchases? What catches their eye, appeals to their lifestyles and fits into their budgets?
When it comes to healthy living, Hispanic consumers pay close attention to oral hygiene, healthy breakfast items and wholesome snack options. While white non-Hispanic consumers also focus on breakfast, they also look for brand name fruits and vegetables, according to the 28th Annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® study, which was released by Nielsen.
The Consumer Packaged Goods portion of this year’s EquiTrend study evaluated the brand health of more than 2,500 brands covering 12 key brand metrics, including brands overall equity, as well as those brands which consumers feel have a positive health and wellness impact.
While there are common themes in terms of products that consumers view as healthy, the brands that rise to the top are not. Water and cereal are two good examples. For example, Hispanics identify Nestlé Pure Life and Honey Bunches of Oats, while white non-Hispanics prefer Aquafina and Cheerios. Avocados from Mexico and Oral-B are the only two brands common to both lists.
Retailers and manufacturers can benefit from consumers penchant for healthy products and stock their shelves with brands consumers associate with an overall positive health and wellness impact.
The insights in this article were derived from various sources including: Nielsen Scantrack, Total US xAOC Hispanic, 52 weeks ending April 30, 2016; “Healthy, Happy Home,” a Nielsen survey of 1,176 U.S. consumers on healthy matters influencing their food purchases; and “The 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study”, which is based on a sample of 97,120 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over surveyed online, in English only, between Dec. 22, 2015 and Feb. 1, 2016. The total number of brands rated was 3,837. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data was weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. Only respondents aged 21+ were provided with alcohol brand based questions.