Building loyalty: Heritage Grocers Group's approach to the Hispanic market

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Heritage Grocers Group
Source: Heritage Grocers Group

Related tags Hispanic and latino americans Grocery market

Heritage Grocers Group operates 115 locations across four banners in six states, “adjusting to the local customer needs” of the Hispanic market by offering affordable groceries, including prepared and fresh foods, Adam Salgado, the group’s chief marketing officer, told FoodNavigator-USA.

The Hispanic population​ makes up 18.9% (62.1m) of the United States, making it the second largest ethnic group after non-Hispanic whites, with California, Texas, Florida, New York and Arizona as the top five states with the largest population, according to the Census Bureau.

Heritage’s four banner stores—Cardenas Markets, El Rancho Supermercado, Tony’s Fresh Market and Los Altos Ranch Market — operate in California, Texas, Nevada, Kansas and Illinois.

The group aspires to “become the largest and most respected Hispanic grocery in the nation,” Salgado said.

The group is “very in tune with our communities,” through its selection of CPG food and beverage brands, in addition to produce and prepared foods from instore kitchens “that are unique to their respective [communities],” and certain items that are essential to the Hispanic community, which is reflected in produce, like roma tomatoes, white onions and jalapenos, Salgado explained.

“The localization is really adjusting to the local customer needs. [For example], we have a pretty important Cuban representation in Nevada. So we have certain items in our prepared foods like a Cuban sandwich that we offer,” he added.

He continued, “There is great collaboration with operations at the stores and they are really the frontline and the ones that are listening to customer feedback and understanding what is really needed to serve their needs.”

Building localized and national marketing programs

Each banner’s marketing department is developed with “[respect to] the local brand, tonality and messaging,” and communicated primarily through social and digital “because you can pivot very quickly and get on trend right away,” Salgado said.

While each banner has its own voice and tone, Heritage is developing marketing initiatives that work across all 115 stores, like the Lotería program.

“We are doing a program called Lotería this summer, which is called Mexican Bingo. We started doing that with Cardenas four years ago. This year we are going to it at all 115 locations,” Salgado said.

The popular scratcher game “gives customers an opportunity to win instant prizes like electronics or … large prizes of $50,000 or groceries per year,” he explained.

While each store may offer prizes that are specific to its customers, “the essence of the overall game is going to be the same everywhere,” Salgado said.

He continued, “It is just more ... how do you customize it to fit the local component that applies to pretty much all of our marketing efforts.”

Nimble innovations in prepared foods

With the advantage of an in-house kitchen across all Heritage stores, each store's prepared foods section can offer more targeted innovations for its shoppers.

During Lent, “which is a very important time of year for our Hispanic customers,” Heritage developed non-meat offerings, like shrimp and tamales, Salgado explained.

The group leverages social media to draw attention to different types of items, like prepared tacos, “because we do have the advantage of having a kitchen like a restaurant,” he said.

“What we are looking for is to fulfill the need that is not being addressed for customers,” Salgado said.

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