DES MOINES, Iowa — A National Pork Board report shows U.S. Latinos’ affinity for pork and growing purchasing power make it a critical audience for the industry, but as Hispanics acculturate, their pork consumption declines. The new report, Time to Tango: Latinos are Pork’s Future, reveals steps food retailers and packers must take to connect with these influential consumers who represent the biggest growth opportunity of the next several decades.
The report is the latest in the National Pork Board’s Insight to Action research program examining key behaviors, attitudes, and cultural nuances of U.S. Hispanic shoppers. It outlines top motivators for Hispanics when selecting their preferred retailer and protein choice.
“Pork is entrenched in Hispanic heritage and culture, and extremely relevant to the fast-growing and economically powerful Hispanic segment,” said José de Jesús, 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.”
According to the report, as Hispanic consumers become acculturated in the United States, the link between pork and culture weakens. Often, they 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 service to deliver the cuts they want. Nearly half (49%) of Hispanics do not choose mainstream retailers as their go-to store, and instead opt for specialty stores, ethnic markets and bodegas. The meat case is a contributing factor — 44% of Hispanics choose to buy their fresh meat at non-mainstream grocery stores.
To maintain and increase loyalty among Hispanic consumers, the report outlines three key motivators retailers and packers must address:
- Accessibility: Most (79%) Hispanic consumers shop with someone else in their family and seek out stores that offer a family friendly experience. More than half seek out stores offering specialty cuts. Therefore, the shopping experience and value must meet Latinos’ expectations, and the cuts and preparations they want need to be more easily available in mainstream stores.
- Authenticity: Traditional family recipes are important to Hispanic consumers, but those traditions vary by the country of origin. What’s relevant to the Cuban or Puerto Rican consumer will be different than those from Mexico or Central American countries. While two of three Hispanics in the U.S. are originally from Mexico, a third are from other nations. A “hyper-local” strategy is best and should extend beyond the meat case. Having the right cuts available is key, but also offering the seasonings, spices and ingredients that are needed to complete those traditional pork dishes is just as important.
- Health: Nearly two-thirds (63%) of unacculturated Hispanics mistakenly believe pork is unhealthy. The industry must focus on the nutritional value of specific cuts, including pork’s protein profile.
“The food industry is changing rapidly; foresight and adaptability are the keys to survival. 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.”
The report is the first in a series of reports, articles and updates the National Pork Board will provide in the months ahead to help the food industry better respond to Hispanic consumers’ needs. The Pork Board has also developed a free marketing toolkit that includes content and information for retailers and packers to leverage in their own communications channels. The full report, and more information about the National Pork Board’s Insights to Action research, is available at www.Pork.org/marketing.
About the Research
The National Pork Board commissioned custom research with C+R Research and Datassential. The multi-phased custom studies included a variety of qualitative methodologies including focus groups, in-depth interviews, shop-alongs and dine-alongs, as well as surveyed 11,000+ consumers, including more than 2,000 Hispanic consumers, and paired foodservice operator interviews, volumetric data, and syndicated foodservice data to gain a comprehensive, in-depth look at the needs, offerings, considerations and motivations that impact Hispanic dining decisions.
About the National Pork Board
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit www.pork.org