A report from the National Pork Board is calling for the pork industry to better meet the needs of Hispanic consumers.
The report found that as Hispanic consumers become acculturated in the U.S., the link between pork and culture weakens. They often can't find the cuts they want for traditional dishes in mainstream stores, so they use other proteins or shop at specialty stores that offer the cuts they need. Almost two-thirds of unacculturated Hispanics even mistakenly believe pork is unhealthy.
"Pork is entrenched in Hispanic heritage and culture, and extremely relevant to the fast-growing and economically powerful Hispanic segment," said Jose de Jesus, director of multicultural marketing for the National Pork Board. "The pork industry must proactively engage them and better meet their needs, otherwise we risk losing the Latino consumer."
Forty-nine percent of Hispanic shoppers do not choose mainstream retailers as their go-to store, and instead opt for specialty stores, ethnic markets and bodegas. One contributing factor is the meat case as 44% of Hispanics choose to buy their fresh meat at non-mainstream grocery stores that are better meeting their needs.
Seventy-nine percent of Hispanic consumers shop with someone else in their family, seeking out stores that offer a family friendly experience. Additionally, more than half seek out stores offering specialty cuts. Therefore, the mainstream shopping experience and value must meet Latino's expectations , as well as the cuts and preparations they want.
"U.S. Hispanics spend $95 billion a year on consumer packaged goods and their purchasing power is growing," said David Newman, a pig farmer and president of the National Pork Board. "It's no longer enough to offer a Hispanic aisle or packaging in Spanish. We need to look at each area of the store and ensure we're meeting Hispanic consumers' needs."
Meanwhile, traditional family recipes are important to Hispanic consumers, but those traditions vary by the country of origin. For example, what's important to the Cuban or Puerto Rican consumer will be different to those from Mexico or Central America. Two of three Hispanics in the U.S. are originally from Mexico, but a third are from other nationals.
A hyper-local strategy is important and should extend beyond the meat case. In addition to having the right cuts, grocers should carry the seasonings, spices and ingredients needed to complete those traditional pork dishes.
Victoria writes for the weekly Food Institute Report and the daily news update, Today in Food. Victoria graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A in Journalism and has a background in Nutrition and Food Science. She can be reached through her email at Victoria.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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