Friday, April 10, 2009

Debunking myths of the Latino market

Excerpts from a 5/09 Produce Business article written by Jodean Robbins

It's no secret that Hispanics comprise a significant and growing percentage of the U.S. population. According to the most recent Census counts, the nation's Hispanic population reached 45.5 million in 7/07 or 15.1% of the U.S.'s population.

Myth 1: It's not worth the effort.

"If there is any ROI to be had in produce, focusing on Latinos will deliver desirable results," says Mary Ostlund, marketing director for Brooks Tropicals LLC, headquartered in Homestead, FL.

"The Latino lifestyle is based on eating with your family and eating delicious home-cooked meals. Ensuring the family's health by preparing fresh foods and encouraging them to exercise is a common practice among all Latinos. Ironically, a growing concern is the development of bad eating habits as acculturated Latinos are faced with the U.S.'s abundance of cheap, low-quality food," she adds. "Many Latinos and Latino organizations are getting out the important, but basic message: the old ways are the best ways. Latinos appreciate fresh produce as a way to combat bad eating habits."

Myth 2: My store isn't in Miami or L.A.

"I heard this doubt expressed once from a store manager whose location was in the same town in which one of our customers had just opened a store," reports Ostlund. "I knew my customer's tropical section was doing very well out there, and it's not that big of a town."