Hispanic Snacking

The U.S. is no doubt a hodgepodge of ethnic and cultural diversity, and that is best represented in the Hispanic population. Despite the fact that Latin American immigration appears to have stagnated, the U.S. Census Bureau expects this demographic to reach 106 million by the year 2050 — a 57% increase from 2015 — and that’s after the bureau actually lowered its projections.

There are two sides to this coin: A group this big, with so much growth potential, Hispanic consumers represent a large segment of purchasing power for a number of products. And at the same time, they are driving food trends that can be seen in product development ranging from flavor fusion to food mashups that represent multiculturalism in often surprising ways.

What it means to be Hispanic is a tricky proposition, and it can mean different things to different people, especially in specific regions of the U.S. So, how are people purchasing Hispanic products, and how is this culture affecting what baked foods and snacks Americans of all ethnicities are eating?

It’s not just the demographic that’s growing. Hispanic consumers’ pocketbooks are growing, too, according to research from Mintel, Chicago. From 2010 to 2014, the Selig Center for Economic Growth estimated that their purchasing power grew from $1 trillion to $1.25 trillion and projected it to hit almost $1.7 trillion by 2019, thanks to improving labor market conditions that lead to increased disposable income.

In 2013, A.H.A.A.: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing, a research firm dedicated to Hispanic-specialized marketing, identified a consumer segment it called Upscale Latino, which accounted for 29% of the U.S. Hispanic population and 40% of the group’s spending power.

Partnering with Nielson, A.H.A.A. conducted a comprehensive study of Hispanic households that earn $50,000 to $100,000 per year and discovered that this group is on average 33 years old, lives active lifestyles and often has young families — 85% have a household of three or more — falling in line with the target shopper for many bakeries and snack food manufacturers.