Ethnic food grows demand for fresh category at retail
Feb. 16, 2017
by Joel Crews
Nielsen says multicultural consumers are shopping and spending more.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The buying power of multicultural consumers at the retail level, including their impact on purchases made in the meat department at grocery stores has resulted in an “unparalleled influence on the marketplace,” according to a Feb. 16 report from Nielsen. According to the report, “A Fresh Look at Multicultural Consumers,” this segment of retail consumers spends more in the meat and seafood departments than any other fresh department.
Meanwhile, in the deli, flavor profiles influenced by multiple cultures have evolved to mainstream status and demand for them is continuing to grow. The availability of bulk quantities of fresh food in the deli is also fueling growth.
Fresh food purchases in the US, according to Nielsen are influenced by the native food preferences among Asian Americans, Hispanics and African Americans and these multicultural households “spend a higher share on fresh as a percentage of their total food spend compared to non-Hispanic White households,” who tend to opt for convenience over fresh.
Based on the study, the multicultural portion of shoppers represents a $2.2 billion opportunity for retailers as the segment was found to make 3 percent more trips to the store and spend 4 percent more on fresh food than their counterparts.
According to Courtney Jones, Nielsen’s vice president of multicultural growth & strategy, opportunistic retailers have plenty to gain by appealing to multicultural shoppers.
“In order to tap this critical market, retailers need to rethink their delivery and assortment strategies of fresh products being offered to today’s increasingly multicultural shoppers,” Jones said. “To be successful, retailers must understand the importance that culturally relevant, fresh offerings play in the multicultural shopper landscape.
As ethnic flavors grow in popularity among specific cultural groups, they are not being ignored by mainstream shoppers, which is another opportunity retailers should not ignore, according to Nielsen’s findings.
“Retailers must consider the multiethnic tastes of their current and desired customers and recognize that the palates that favor multicultural flavors are influencing the taste preferences of non-Hispanic whites and society at-large,” Jones said.
A summary of the study is available online or the full report can be accessed by contacting, MulticulturalCOE@Nielsen.com.