Feeding Hispanic millennials' craving for culture

by Rebekah Schouten
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Mainstream retailers have a big opportunity to fulfill the generation's needs.

NEW YORK — Hispanic millennials are craving a cultural connection at the grocery store, according to a recent Nielsen study focused on the group, which makes up 21% of the generation’s total U.S. population.

Over a quarter of all U.S. millennials are first- or second-generation immigrants, Nielsen said, and many have strong ties to their global origins. So when shopping for groceries, cultural touch stones such as smell, taste and familiarity attract Hispanic millennials. Nationally, 61% of the segment said they have shopped at Hispanic supermarkets at least once over the past year. The percentage jumps to 74% in Los Angeles, which has one of the highest concentrations of Hispanic millennials in the United States.

While language is a factor in whether or not they visit a Hispanic supermarket, nearly half of English-dominant Hispanic millennials said they have visited such stores despite the language barrier. This speaks to the generation’s openness to different cultures, Nielsen said. Seventy-one per cent of all millennials said they appreciate the influence of other cultures on the American way of life, and Hispanic millennials are interested in other cultures as well. For example, twenty-two per cent of Hispanic millennials said they have recently shopped at an Asian supermarket.

However, culturally-specific markets are not always available. The No. 1 reason all Hispanics and the millennial sub-segment give for not shopping at Hispanic grocers is the lack of nearby stores, Nielsen said.

But cultural-specific stores are not the only ones who can cater to this culture-hungry category. In Los Angeles, 36% of Hispanic millennials said they don’t shop at Hispanic grocers because they can find the ethnic products they want in mainstream retailers. Food stores overall have an opportunity to attract Hispanic millennial shoppers, Nielsen said, if they try to better understand the culture and generation’s needs and gear their stores’ offerings to satisfy those desires. 
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