Hispanic consumers currently comprise 16 percent of the U.S. population and are projected to reach 30 percent by the year 2050. The demographic currently represents about $1 trillion of spending power in the United States, and is the fastest growing population group in America.

A new study by Technomic that explores the foodservice attitudes and usage of this important group notes that Hispanic consumers place high importance on family dining options and the authenticity of Hispanic menu options when dining out.

“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,” says Technomic Director of Consumer Research Sara Monnette.

“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," explains Monnette. "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.”

To help food industry professionals better understand Hispanic consumer behavior and attitudes, Technomic developed the Hispanic Foodservice Consumer Trend Report, which includes an online survey of 1,000 acculturated Hispanic consumers and a telephone survey of 100 unacculturated Hispanic consumers.

Findings include:

More than a third of acculturated Hispanic consumers (35 percent) report a high level of brand loyalty, saying 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 say they purchase prepared foods at grocery stores once a month or more often, and nearly a third say that they do so at least once a week. More than two out of five Hispanic consumers purchase foodservice options at convenience stores on a monthly basis.

Roughly two-thirds of Hispanic consumers say the availability of healthy options is important at both limited- and full-service restaurants. Thirty-two percent of acculturated Hispanics say they tend to order healthy items when they visit restaurants, compared to just 23 percent of the general population.