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Forget Millennials: the Grocery Industry Should Focus on Hispanics

A lot has been said about Millennials, and rightfully so: in the coming years, the demographic will become the dominating force in the American economy, not to mention its politics. But as retailers scramble to find the perfect way to reach this cohort, they are largely ignoring a growing portion of the U.S. population: Hispanics.

According to 2014 population estimates, Hispanics represent 17% of the total U.S. population with 55 million people. This also makes them the largest ethnic or racial minority within the country, with about 1.2 million Hispanics entering the country between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014. This growing population represents a large audience that food retailers can target to improve their bottom lines.

However, it would appear food retailers are not taking advantage of this. According to Nielsen, 57% of Hispanic shoppers visit Hispanic grocers because they stock products that can’t be found elsewhere. Another 51% of Hispanic shoppers visit these stores because they have panaderia or tortilla shops, 52% do so for their wide selection of Hispanic brands, and 48% do so because they offer high-quality authentic Hispanic food prepared on site.

While it would be impractical to expect every grocery store in the country to adjust their model to provide all of these items, it makes sense to adopt some of the principles. For national chains, opening Hispanic-specific concepts may be a way to go about it. In April, CVS Pharmacy opened its first CVS Pharmacy y mas store format in Los Angeles, representing the second market the company targeted. Food retailers could also follow this footprint.

Staying on top of trends is no easy feat, but having the most accurate information at hand always helps. For those looking for more information on specific demographics and their spending information, make sure to check out the Food Institute’s Demographics of Consumer Food Spending. Having the right information may make the decision on whether to install a panaderia or tortilla shop within your store that much easier. For more information, click here.