June 2011 Prepared Foods -- Beinga Hispanic in the food business and married to a man who also is “in the business,” all topics related to foods permeate our lives. Since I’m Peruvian, most everything I cook has a bit of Latino flavor. But, I often have to adjust my recipes for more Americanized family members. The different “degrees” of being Latino intrigue me.

With this in mind, Packaging Strategies’ report, “Hispanic Foods and Beverages in the U.S.: Market and Consumer Trends in Latino Cuisine (July 2010),” is an enlightening read. The report splits consumers of Hispanic products into two main segments: “truly ethnic Hispanic consumers in search of authentic products and tastes,” and “the non-Hispanic consumer who has an increasing appetite for the flavors of various ethnic cuisines.”

Hispanic foods and beverages are segmented into three groups, which reflect “degrees” of being Latino: Mainstream Mexican, which includes products that have been Americanized, such as tortillas, salsas, tacos, etc.; Authentic Hispanic consists of items imported into the U.S. from Hispanic countries or that are domestic traditional products; and Nuevo Latino incorporates traditional American foods with Hispanic influences or features Latino foods with “non-traditional ingredients.”

To competitively participate in the Hispanic foods market, F&B companies will need to properly address the different segments; the market is significant. “Packaged Facts projects that the buying power of Latinos will reach $1.3 trillion in 2013…In addition, keep in mind that Hispanic shoppers spend significantly more than other groups on food consumed at home,” said Don Montuori, vice president of publishing. “The expansion of the market for Hispanic foods and beverages has also been spurred by their increasing acceptance among non-Hispanic consumers.” Hispanics also are experiencing the same health issues as their American counterparts, so food developers “have the opportunity to create traditional products with healthier profiles.” Just like Americans, Latinos want foods that taste good, but they also value traditional qualities.

The report predicts eight Hispanic F&B categories will continue double-digit growth during 2010-2014: picante (16%); nectars/juices/drinks (13%); meat: fresh, frozen and canned (13%); fruits/vegetables: canned, dried, frozen and jarred (12%); cheese (12%); milk/milk-style beverages (11%); bakery items (10%); and yogurt/cultured dairy drinks (10%). The types of products that span these categories are quite broad, and one can easily imagine a range of items targeting different “degrees” of Hispanic ethnicity. Manufacturers who take the time to develop products for different segments surely will be rewarded. pf

For more about “Hispanic Foods and Beverages in the U.S.: Market and Consumer Trends in Latino Cuisine (July 2010),” call 800-298-5294 or visit www.packagedfacts.com.