Understanding the Hispanic market for new product success

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United states

Understanding the Hispanic market for new product success
The growing Hispanic market holds huge opportunity for food manufacturers in the United States, but understanding cultural dynamics is vital to new product success, according to a panel of experts speaking at the Research Chefs Association conference last weekend.

Market research organization Packaged Facts has predicted that Hispanic spending on food and beverage could hit $9.5bn by 2014, and Hispanic influence on food trends and eating behaviors is growing fast. Currently Hispanics make up 16% of the US population, and the US census suggests that the demographic could increase 34% from 2010 to 2020.

Chef Mark Miller, founder of Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, New Mexico, said that women often make the most decisions about food in Hispanic households, and food marketers looking to capture this demographic should ensure they speak to women’s cultural values, and to mothers in particular, who tend to be the decision-makers regarding children’s food and welfare.

He said: “The brands in the US are too male dominated or gender neutral...In the Hispanic household it is very important that we involve the female head of the household. If she is adding the protein or some of the other ingredients then she feels she is cooking and not assembling, and this is very important to her…If she serves something fully prepared she may lose status within the household and lose some of her own sense of self-worth.”

Miller added that marketers may think they would communicate more effectively with the Hispanic market if their advertising is in Spanish.

“They would be wrong,”​ he said. “The mother might not want to bring that Spanish information into the home, because she wants her child to acculturate.”

Fernando Desa, executive chef at Goya Foods, said: “In Hispanic families it is very important to eat dinner as a family,”​ adding that family size entrees therefore will tend to do better than single size portions.

In terms of up and coming flavor trends for Hispanic consumers, Desa predicts that Peruvian cuisine is going to be the “next big thing”, with fresh fish, Asian influences, and refreshing fruits like mango and passion fruit working well with chilies.

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