Launched yesterday by market research firm The Nielsen Company, the new national Homescan Consumer Panel will track purchases made by 11,000 households. The group also announced at its annual Consumer 360 Conference that it would expand the use of its existing Homescan Hispanic Panel in Los Angeles from 1,500 to 2,500 households. Consumers taking part in the program scan all their purchases in shopping outlets on a continuous basis. "With this expansion, the Homescan Hispanic Panel becomes the only available national Hispanic scanner-collected longitudinal purchase panel," said Tim Kregor, president, Nielsen Homescan & Spectra, North America. "Now marketers will be able to measure detailed purchase patterns within the Hispanic population, and translate those insights into brand specific plans. This $1 trillion market is an undeniable opportunity that demands unique strategies for all leading brands." The Hispanic population is the fastest growing demographic group in the US, and is expected to reach the 50 million mark by 2010, growing in influence and purchasing power. According to estimates by Hispanic Intelligence, based on an analysis of US Bureau of Economic Analysis figures, the Hispanic purchasing power had a compound annual growth rate of 7.7 percent between 1994 and 2004 - nearly three times the 2.8 percent total US rate of disposable income. The Latino buying power totaled $768bn in 2005, demonstrating the growing importance of this consumer segment. This has resulted in a stream of new foods and flavors appearing on the US market, designed specifically to appeal to Hispanic tastes. The Nielsen Company expects to complete its Homescan panel expansion activity by December 31, 2007. The first client deliverables will be available by May 2008.