HISPANICS GROWING ON AMERICAN FOOD STORES

LOS ANGELES -- Hispanic consumers shop for groceries 26 times a month at a variety of outlets, according to a new study co-sponsored by Food Marketing Institute, Washington. A portion of the study was presented last week at the third annual Expo Comida Latina here.Hispanics visit supermarkets an average of 5.4 times a month, the study said, compared with 9.2 times a month visiting bodegas or corner

LOS ANGELES -- Hispanic consumers shop for groceries 26 times a month at a variety of outlets, according to a new study co-sponsored by Food Marketing Institute, Washington. A portion of the study was presented last week at the third annual Expo Comida Latina here.

Hispanics visit supermarkets an average of 5.4 times a month, the study said, compared with 9.2 times a month visiting bodegas or corner stores, 6.1 times a month at convenience stores, and 5.9 times a month at bakeries or panaderias.

They patronize meat shops or carnicerias an average of 4.9 times a month; limited-assortment stores, 4 times; drug stores or pharmacies, discount superstores and specialty grocery stores, 3.2 times a month each; and warehouse clubs, 2.1 times, according to the study.

The study, a follow-up to a similar report by FMI in 2002, was based on data collected from phone conversations with 1,650 Hispanic shoppers in 10 cities: Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego. Besides FMI, the study was co-sponsored by New American Dimensions, an ethnic marketing research firm, and ADVO here.

Thomas Tseng, principal and co-founder of New American Dimensions, presented "a slice of the larger study" at Expo Comida Latina, the Hispanic food and beverage show. He told SN that FMI has not yet released the complete report.

According to the study, ethnic bodegas were the primary shopping outlet for first-generation Hispanics in five of the 10 cities surveyed, with chain stores the primary outlets in three markets, and discounters and supercenters the primary outlets of choice in one market each. For second- and third-generation Hispanics, chain supermarkets were the primary outlet in five of the 10 markets; independents and discounters were primary in two markets each; ethnic stores were primary in only one market.

A co-presenter with Tseng was Naseem Qader, manager of multicultural strategic targeting solutions for ADVO. Qader discussed specific shopping preferences in six of the 10 cities surveyed in the study.

Among first-generation Hispanic shoppers, she said, the study indicated the two primary stores shopped in Los Angeles were Kroger's Food 4 Less and Superior Markets, a local independent. ShopRite and Food Bazaar were the two top choices in New York; Publix and Sedano's in Miami; Jewel and Sermak in Chicago; Fiesta and H.E. Butt Grocery in Houston; and Bashas' Food City and Fry's in Phoenix, Qader pointed out.

Among more acculturated Hispanic shoppers, the primary stores shopped were Food 4 Less and Ralphs, both Kroger operations, in Los Angeles; Pathmark and C-Town in New York; Publix and Winn-Dixie in Miami; Jewel and Cub Foods in Chicago; H-E-B and Fiesta in Houston; and Fry's and Bashas' Food City in Phoenix, she said.

When respondents were asked what qualities they look for in selecting a food store, the study indicated 94% said a clean, neat store; 93% said fresh, high-quality produce; 91% said courteous employees; 90% said fresh, high-quality meats; and 88% said low prices, according to Qader.

Asked to rate specific Hispanic elements in stores, 78% of those surveyed said they preferred bilingual employees; 72% wanted Hispanic products; 70% wanted bilingual signs; and 67% wanted bilingual packaging.

However, among first-generation Hispanics only, 89% said they wanted bilingual employees; 81% wanted bilingual signs; and 79% wanted bilingual packaging, compared with 45%, 39% and 33%, respectively, among more acculturated second- and third-generation Hispanics, Qadar reported.

When respondents were asked in which advertising channels they had seen or read a supermarket ad, the study said 65% mentioned mailed circulars; 40% mentioned TV; 30%, newspaper circulars; 14%, in-store flyers; 13%, newspaper ads; 11%, radio; 10%, in-store displays; and 4%, billboards, Qader indicated.

In his presentation, Tseng of New American Dimensions sought to put the importance of the Hispanic population in perspective, noting that growth of foreign-born residents in the United States jumped 64% between 1990 and 2002, with nearly 40% of immigrants coming from Latin America (including 31% from Mexico, 3% from El Salvador, 3% from the Dominican Republic, and 2% from Cuba).

According to Tseng, highlights of the study included the following conclusions:

Of the total Hispanic population in the United States, nearly 40% is under the age of 20, "so there are marketing opportunities now and in the future," he said.

All generations of Hispanics spend more than the total population on groceries. More specifically, second- and third-generation Hispanics spend 41% more than their total-population counterparts.

The total U.S. population spends 82% of its food dollars at a primary store and 18% at a secondary store, whereas Hispanics are more diverse, spending 69% of food dollars at a primary store and 31% at secondary stores.