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Latinos Seek Authentic Food, American Convenience

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Stores that integrate a wide selection of Latino foods that are organized by country of origin and sold alongside American conveniences are ideal for the fast-growing Hispanic demographic, according to research from The Hartman Group and MSLGroup.

“Specialty Latino stores or the ‘tienda’ is a place of significance for Latino families,” said Davey McHenry, director of Client Engagement for The Hartman Group, during a webinar Tuesday. “They not only carry fresh authentic products but also serve as a place of emotional standing.”


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Fiesta Mart is an ethnic chain that offers the best of both worlds, McHenry said.

“Much like conventional stores it offers a number of well-located, wide selection stores with decent prices, but unlike conventional stores it features specialty products from all over the globe with an emphasis on Latino countries of origin which are showcased right along with the standard American products,” McHenry said. “In fact, products normally limited to tiendas and sold in nominal quantities at conventional stores dominate in this particular retailer.”

Read more: Vendors Woo Hispanics

Researchers polled respondents about language spoken at home, overall cultural identification, media habits and years lived in the U.S., to determine that 22% are unacculturated, 47% bi-cultural and 31% acculturated. It also found:

  • Latinos view health and wellness as a balance of physical, emotional and spiritual health, including happiness, enjoying family time and eating wholesomely.
  • Traditional eating emphasizes small portions for most of the day with a heavy late afternoon meal, but given lifestyle constraints like work and school, Hispanics have adopted American-style eating on weekdays with a Latino emphasis on the weekend.
  • Fresh is a strong determent of quality and includes having a deep understanding of the growing process, a preference for whole foods and seeking foods with no preservatives or other additives.
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