'Latin fever' drives US Hispanic market, says report

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United states

Manufacturers targeting the US Hispanic food and beverage market
should position their products within one of the category's three
major segments, depending on the type of consumer targeted,
according to a report by Packaged Facts.

Hispanic Foods and Beverages in the US​ reinforces that growth within the $5.7bn market is driven not only by the growing US Hispanic population, but also by the expanding tastes of non-Hispanic Americans. "The yearning to experiment with all foods Hispanic has practically become a Latin fever in the United States. To catch this wave, food processors and chefs alike have to make a serious effort and investment to acquire the right ingredients. The good news is that the Latin flavors are becoming more and more accessible and affordable,"​ states Packaged Facts. Published in August 2007, the report identifies three major segments within the Hispanic food and beverage market. The first - Mainstream Mexican - encompasses products that have become mainstays in the US packaged food industry, such as nachos, salsa and tacos. Theses products are the "backbone"​ of the category, says the report. Mainstream Mexican also includes products such as burritos, margarita mix, refried beans and tortilla chips. Authentic Hispanic, the second major segment, encompasses foods and beverages imported into the United States from Hispanic countries. These foods may or may not be Hispanic, but they were made across the border. For example, a canned corned beef product imported from Brazil would be classified as Hispanic. The Authentic Hispanic segment also includes products made in the United States, but made using traditional recipes, as well as basic staples that are made by a Hispanic manufacturer and carry what is described as an authentic brand. "When Hispanic food companies target consumers, they're not only pinpointing their heritage, but their degree of assimilation in the United States,"​ said Packaged Facts. The final segment - Nuevo Latino - includes products with "south-of-the-border flair". ​ It includes traditional American foods made with Hispanic ingredients, as well as new creations that combine a variety of Hispanic flavors and food traditions. According to the report, the top ten product categories within the Hispanic food and beverage market as a whole are: tortillas/taco shells, salsa, entrees/hand-held items, refried beans, cooking sauce/marinade/sauce, bakery items, seasoning/spice mixes, cheese, picante and rice/rice mixes. The report estimates that US market for Hispanic foods and beverages was almost $5.7bn in 2006, an increase of four percent from the previous year, and an increase of 21 percent from $4.7bn in 2002. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for this period was five percent. By 2011, Packaged Facts estimates that the Hispanic food and beverage market will reach a value of $8.4bn, with a CAGR of seven percent during the period. Five product categories are forecast to experience double-digit CAGRs during the 2007-2011 forecast period. These are entrees/hand-held items, fruits/vegetables, meat, milk/milk-style beverages and yogurt/cultured dairy drinks. The major growth factor for the market is the continuing increase in the Hispanic population, particularly for those products classified as Authentic Hispanic, said the report. With over 44m Hispanics in the US, this population is currently the largest minority group, representing 14.8 percent of the total population. This group is projected to grow to 15.5 percent of the total US population by 2010. By 2030, one of five people will be Hispanic, according to US Census Bureau projections. According to a number of reports, buying power within the Hispanic population is expected to grow significantly in the next four to five years. Packaged Facts estimates the buying power of the Hispanic market to be around $766m, approaching $1.1 trillion - or 11 percent of the US population's buying power - by 2010. California, Texas and Florida currently have the largest Hispanic populations in the US.

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