Hispanic consumers seek authentic menu options

by Jeff Gelski
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CHICAGO – Hispanic consumers place high importance on family dining options and the authenticity of Hispanic menu options, according to the “Hispanic Foodservice Consumer Trend Report” from Technomic.

“Simply offering a Hispanic-inspired menu item is not enough to attract Hispanic consumers, as more than one third of the consumers in our study actually disagree that the mere presence of Hispanic menu items will encourage them to visit a restaurant,” said Sara Monnette, director of consumer relations for Technomic. “If restaurant operators want to drive additional traffic and build brand loyalty among this rapidly growing and influential consumer group, they must understand their unique needs. Preparing and presenting Hispanic cuisine in an authentic manner and providing a family-friendly environment are two ways restaurant operators can build relationships with Hispanic consumers.”

The Technomic report included an on-line survey of 1,000 acculturated Hispanic consumers and a telephone survey of 100 Hispanic consumers who were not acculturated. Among the acculturated consumers 35% said they have a high level of brand loyalty and that they like to visit familiar restaurants and tend to patronize the same few concepts whenever they go out to eat.

Three in four acculturated Hispanic consumers said they purchased prepared foods at grocery stores once a month or more often. Nearly a third said they do so at least once a week. More than 40% of Hispanic consumers purchase food service options at convenience stores on a monthly basis. The availability of healthy options at both limited-service and full-service restaurants is important to about two-thirds of Hispanic consumers.

One section in the Technomic report explored the differences between various Hispanic cuisines in North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The section also explored how U.S. restaurant menus showcase Hispanic cuisines.

The Hispanic demographic represents about $1 trillion of spending power in the United States, according to Technomic. Hispanic consumers comprise 16% of the U.S. population and that percentage is expected to reach 30% by 2050.

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