Acculturation offers unique challenges

by Editorial Staff
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ROSEMONT, ILL. — As Hispanic consumers become more acculturated in the United States their consumption of dairy products decreases, according to a study published by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Less acculturated Hispanics consume almost 50% more milk, cheese and yogurt than the most acculturated segment of Hispanic consumers. The gap in consumption is being viewed as an opportunity for the marketers of dairy-based products.

The Innovation Center market analysis showed a wide difference in dairy preferences between the less acculturated and more acculturated Hispanic consumers. Whole milk penetration is almost 14% higher among foreign-born Hispanics, compared to the U.S.-born segment, while drinkable yogurt penetration is almost double, and Hispanic cheese penetration is nearly four times higher.

“Hispanic consumers in the U.S. are a highly diverse group with different beliefs, customs, experiences and behaviors,” said Lynn Stachura, vice-president of strategic insight with Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont. “These cultural

differences make it even more important for marketers to understand this audience and develop messaging and programming to meet their unique needs. By appealing to the unique traditions of the less acculturated group, while recognizing that new habits get layered on, the dairy industry will be better able to maintain dairy consumption and help curb the drop-off.”

The market analysis’ review of the yogurt market shows that nearly 60% of the foreign-born Hispanics in the United States said they eat yogurt at least a few times a week or more versus 40% of U.S.-born Hispanics. Approximately 75% of Hispanics also said they “like or love” yogurt and about half of the respondents said they don’t eat enough of it.

Breakfast usage is similar across acculturation levels, however, less acculturated Hispanics eat yogurt more frequently as a dessert than more acculturated and U.S.-born Hispanics. The authors of the report said developing dessert-like yogurts and reinforcing dessert as a usage occasion may increase consumption as an alternative to more indulgent, less healthful desserts.

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