U.S. Hispanics’ pride in their cooking, emphasis on traditional flavors and ensuring the food they feed their families is nutritious, shapes perceptions that healthy foods aren’t as tasty or as nutritious, according to NPD’s "It's Mealtime with U.S. Hispanics." Some 46% of Spanish-language dominant Hispanics feel that almost everything that is very good for you does not taste very good. However, proportions change as Hispanics acculturate. For example, 31% of bilingual Hispanics and only 11% of English dominant Hispanics agree.
“Food and beverages play a central role in the preservation of Hispanic culture and reconnection for family; as a result, Hispanics view mealtime, nutrition, and healthy eating differently than non-Hispanics,” says Terry Soto, president and CEO of About Marketing Solutions Inc., who consulted with NPD on the development of the "It’s Mealtime with U.S. Hispanics" report. “Going for seconds is encouraged and welcomed, and conveys that a person ‘eats well’ and has a good appetite, which is a symbol of good health.”
The NPD report, which includes information from NET Hispanic, a year-long study on the eating behaviors of U.S. Hispanics by level of acculturation, finds that the effect of Hispanics’ attitudes about nutrition and healthy eating are reflected in weight and health issues, particularly among Spanish-dominant U.S. Hispanics.
“With weight conditions and diet-related health issues prominent among U.S. Hispanics, there is an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to position products for how Hispanics actually eat and to align with their attitudes about healthy eating,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst and author of It’s Mealtime with U.S. Hispanics report. “Bilingual nutritional information on products and in-store will help, but it’s also important to keep in mind less-acculturated Hispanics’ attitudes that healthy isn’t tasty or in some cases as nutritious.”