Efforts to appeal to the fast-growing Hispanic population in the U.S. are heating up. Late last year, Pizza Hut announced it’s launching a Spanish-language version of its website, and KFC debuted a new family-focused ad campaign for its Favorites Buckets to target the Hispanic market. Last June, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a new Twitter handle, @DunkinLatino, and during the World Cup, McDonald’s ran a digital campaign on Twitter called #ViveTuJuego aimed at Hispanic Millennials.
These endeavors, among others, speak to the growing importance of the Hispanic population for the foodservice industry. Hispanics currently comprise about 17% of the total U.S. population and are expected to make up nearly 30% of the population by 2060. Hispanics possess $1.5 trillion in spending power, which will only increase as their population grows.
So, how is the Hispanic foodservice consumer different from the general population? Technomic’s Hispanic Foodservice Consumer Trend Report finds that not only are Hispanics more likely to eat healthfully than the general population, but they are eating more healthfully now than they did in 2013. While many operators are already undergoing efforts to improve upon healthfulness, adding nutritious Latin fare may help appeal.
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In fact, leading Mexican concepts are underscoring healthy options by rolling out lighter choices, red meat alternatives and fresher, Baja-style menu items. For example, Del Taco partnered with Jennie-O to offer lean, seasoned ground turkey with 33% less fat than the chain’s seasoned beef. And On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina rolled out new Border Smart selections last year, each with 590 calories or fewer.
This isn’t to say that every foodservice brand should start offering lighter Latin fare to target Hispanics, or even try to specifically target this group at all; each brand needs to evaluate the degree to which they should strive to appeal to Hispanics and how. It may not be necessary for every concept to make Hispanics a central focus, but understanding the Hispanic consumer will be essential to long-term success.
It’s important to keep in mind that while there are similarities among Hispanics as a whole, they are not a homogeneous group. Knowing the Hispanic consumer in a particular market or for a particular brand will be crucial to truly resonate with this increasingly important cohort.