PL Buyer: Food Options for the Under-30 Hispanic
By John N. Frank
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of
a current article from Private Label Buyer, presented here for discussion.
under-30 Hispanic-Americans shares one caveat with selling private label goods
to Hispanics over 30 — lump them all into one demographic
melting pot at your own risk. The good news for food retailers targeting their
private label offerings to that young Hispanic market is that, at least when
it comes to second generation, U.S.-born Hispanics, there’s less brand
loyalty and more openness to try new alternatives, experts agree.
When it comes
to second generation, U.S.-born younger Hispanics, "most
categories are pretty open," said Felipe Korzenny, founder and director
with the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communications at Florida State University.
The younger generation will have taste memories of the ethnic foods they ate
as children but often they won’t want to do the amount of kitchen work
their mothers did to prepare such dishes. So, they’re open to
convenience-oriented ethnic products such as refried beans in cans, something
a recent immigrant Hispanic woman would not consider, Mr. Korzenny said.
and frozen products, another category their immigrant mothers likely seldom,
if ever, shopped in, also present opportunities for ethnic private label offerings
that can appeal to the under-30 crowd with authentic tastes.
"If it tastes like the real thing, it does well with the second generation,"
said David Morse, president and CEO with New American Dimensions, LLC, a multicultural
marketing research firm. Simply positioning ethnic private label as lower-cost
alternatives to name brands is not enough to attract younger Hispanics, he
Rather, it’s about el Sabor, the taste. "Taste trumps price.
Taste is a pillar of Latin culture. Food and flavor are how they identify themselves."
earlier immigrant groups whose second generations tended to turn their backs
on their ethnic cultures, even changing names to become more Americanized,
younger Hispanics want to remain tied to their roots and so continue to eat
ethnic foods while at the same time eating more traditional American fare.
they have children of their own, they teach them about the culture. Third generation
Hispanics will stay connected by learning Spanish and learning as much as possible
about their cultural heritage, a process known as retro acculturalization,
said Mark Ferro, senior account planner with The Integer Group, a brand marketing
For example, Spanish-language marketing is important to the second generation
for a different reason.
"It’s more than a language issue, it’s a cultural issue.
They feel that Spanish is important to them," said Mr. Ferro. Spanish
can be used selectively on packaging for products aimed at second generation
Hispanics. Ingredient lists and other informational communications can be in
English, but words that invoke family, motherhood and other emotional touchstones
should be done in Spanish. "For the second generation, if you put some
Spanish on your package, it says you care about them," says Mr. Morse.
Discussion Questions: What are the challenges for food retailers and brands
in reaching the under-30 Hispanic-American demographic? What first-generation
Hispanic food traditions will likely stay with the second generation and even