Hispanic shoppers emerge as heavy natural, organic buyers in the US

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hispanic shoppers emerge as heavy natural, organic buyer in the US
Hispanic shoppers buy significantly more natural, organic and better-for-you items than the overall US population, which suggests manufacturers in the space could generate even higher sales by targeting the demographic, according to new research from the full-service marketing firm Acosta.

“Significantly more Hispanic shoppers are indicating they are eating more natural and organic foods, even though they may be more expensive,”​ compared to in the past and the overall US population, Marianne Quinlan-Sacksteder, director of business intelligence at Acosta, said during a recent webinar.

Specifically, 44% of Hispanic shoppers in the fall of 2016 said they are trying to eat healthier by buying natural foods compared to only 38% in the fall of 2012. Similarly, 39% of Hispanic shoppers said in the fall of 2016 they ate organic foods, despite the premium price, compared to 31% in 2012, according to the study.

Hispanics buy more organic, natural than overall US population

Not only are more Hispanic shoppers buying organic and natural, but they are buying more of it than total US shopper, Quinlan-Sacksteder pointed out.

 “The most recent study reports an average of about 1/3 of the grocery items in a Hispanic shopper’s cart are considered to be organic versus 1/4 of total US shoppers’ carts. That share of the base for organic products is even higher for Hispanic Millennials, who indicated almost four in 10 items were considered organic and that is significantly higher than the percentage indicated by the total Millennials shopper,”​ she said.

This translates to roughly a 33.9% dollar sales change in organic and 30.9% in natural for Hispanic shoppers over the past five years, compared to only a 29.8% and 32.9% increase in the dollar sales over the past five years for non-Hispanic shoppers, according to the report.

Organic & natural growth drivers

“The strong growth in both organic and natural purchases by Hispanic shoppers is driven by categories across the store … from pet products to frozen entrees to wine,”​ Quinlan-Sacksteder said.

Specifically, Acosta data reveals a roughly 32% increase in natural sales for fresh poultry, frozen entrees, vitamins & supplements and yogurt. It also shows a 30% increase in vegetables & herbs, salty snacks and eggs, she said.

On the organic side, there was a 42.4% increase in purchases of organic fruit, 41.5% increase in vitamins and minerals and a 40% increase in organic shelf stable juices. Baked bread, salty snacks, eggs, yogurt and baby food also saw growth ranging from 32.5% to 40.5%, according to Acosta.

A deeper dive into the data reveals health claims beyond organic and natural also are resonating with Hispanic shoppers.

Acosta found significant year-over-year growth in the percent of Hispanic shoppers buying grocery products with whole grains, up from 34% in 2015 to 51% in 2016, claims for no additives or preservatives up from 23% to 43% and claims for sugar-free or low in sugar

This suggests there also is significant marketing potential for better-for-you products beyond those that are certified organic.

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