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Food & Drink

Hispanic Shoppers Avoid Peanut Butter and Pretzels

Ethnicity still draws the attention of marketers, particularly those trying to sell products to the growing ranks of Hispanic consumers who represent almost one-sixth of the U.S. population.

Acculturation has made the food buying habits of Latinos more like those of other U.S. consumers, according to a new report by research publisher Packaged Facts. Latino shoppers have been adopting packaged foods while shifting away from fresh produce and meat, says Daniel Granderson, an analyst at Packaged Facts. Here are some unexpected findings from the report:

1. No pickles or peanut butter. Latinos, with the exception of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, generally don’t buy peanut butter, pretzels, or pickles, according to a survey.

2. Slim demand for skim milk. Whole milk accounts for 52 percent of daily dairy consumption by Hispanic consumers, compared with 30 percent for all U.S. consumers.

3. Steak beats burgers. Hispanic consumers are less likely to eat hamburger than are U.S. consumers overall and more likely to eat steak.

4. Up with oranges, down with grapes. Hispanic consumers eat significantly more oranges, tropical fruit, apples, and bananas than average, while buying fewer peaches, grapes, berries, and melons.

5. Food prep is family time. Cooking in Hispanic households is more likely to include participation by children. Almost 60 percent report that children in the household are regularly involved in cooking, compared with 51 percent for all consumers.

Companies looking to turn these insights into marketing should temper their expectations for Spanish-language campaigns. Only 36 percent of those surveyed remembered more about or paid more attention to products advertised in Spanish. Ad labels in Spanish can perform better in “a corporate image-building effort,” Packaged Facts notes, “even with highly acculturated Hispanic food shoppers.”

Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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