We had an outstanding New Products Conference last month at the Four Seasons Hotel (West Palm Beach, Fla.). As evidenced by the information in several presentations, and the comprehensive array of international new F&B products shown at the event, a major force hitting the markets today is Latinos, or Hispanics.

About 13% of the U.S. population is Hispanic, this country's largest minority. That number is expected to surpass 50% by 2050. In her presentation, “The New Baby Boom: Hispanic Trends,” consumer trend consultant Marcia Mogelonsky gave the audience enlightening statistics on this highly diverse group.

One in 10 U.S. households is headed by Hispanics, and 38% of these are headed by someone under the age of 35. A whopping 66% of Hispanics are under 35, while some 20% of the population under the age of five is Hispanic.

Hispanics are more likely to cook dinners in the home than other Americans, leading them to spend about 14% more on F&B at home than the average household. Cost continues to be a major concern, and may explain why Hispanics often frequent fast food restaurants when the family eats out. Generally, they eat more bakery and cereal products, drink more whole milk and eat more cheese than U.S. families. Hispanics use a significantly lower number of frozen prepared foods.

This information should signal to marketers an opportunity for products geared specifically to this rapidly growing segment. For example, Hispanics like different types of beverages, as evidenced by their licuados, horchatas and fruit waters. Tropical fruits such as mangoes are becoming part of the mainstream, but what other fruits will follow? How about papaya, Jamaica, mamey and coconut? In schools, Hispanic children expose their American counterparts to tortillas, tamales, tacos, rice and beans. If Hispanics are reluctant to buy completely prepared versions, is there a way to give them the components that they need?

Can they be presented in a kit? Can they be microwaved instead of heated in an oven? What can food developers do to make the Hispanic's home meal preparation easier and faster?

Products need to be geared to their palate—think spicy and tasty before super hot. Since their population is younger, foods need to appeal to a youthful audience. Additionally, since the family is at the heart of Hispanic culture, a tasty, wholesome, good quality product that brings all to the table will be well received.

For more information on Mogolonsky's presentation, please e-mail her at Marcia@mogelonsky.com.

Internet Information

For more information on this issue's articles, see the Internet sites provided below.

Something to Savor
www.sfa.org — Snack Foods Association
www.mintel.com — Mintel International Group
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/1999/9907/9907meats.htm — A look at the challenges present in formulating meat snacks

Dairy Experiences a Flavor-Inspired Renaissance
www.dairyinfo.com — Dairy Management Inc.
www.dairyfoods.com/articles/2003/03/ICO_SittingPretty.htm — Dairy Foods 2003 Ice Cream Outlook
www.unilever.com — Unilever
www.benandjerrys.com — Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
www.idfa.org — International Dairy Foods Association
www.mex-grocer.com — MexGrocer.com
www.coldstonecreamery.com — Cold Stone Creamery
www.pecandeluxe.com — Pecan Deluxe Candy Company

Retro Desserts: From Old to New Again
www.dianaskitchen.com/page/cakeidx.htm — An extensive list of dessert recipes
www.angelfire.com/co3/coffeerecipes/ — Recipes that feature coffee
www.fatfree.com/recipes/desserts/ — Low-fat and vegetarian desserts
http://baking.about.com/library/weekly/topicmenu.htm — An extensive recipe archive

Ingredients in Use: Soy Proteins
www.soybean.org — Soy Protein Partners
www.soyfoods.org — Soyfoods Association of America
www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/isoflav/isoflav.html — Soy Isoflavone Database

Seafood and Coffee Define Pacific Northwest
www.gdseafoods.com — Gerard & Dominique's web page
www.taylorshellfish.com — Taylor Shellfish Farms
www.tomdouglas.com — Website of Tom Douglas
www.tazo.com — Tazo's home page
www.oregonchai.com — Oregon Chai Inc. home page