Multicultural spending considerations for product development

by Donna Berry
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Nielsen infographic of fresh spend to total basket across ethnicities.
African-American consumers spend more per basket on meat purchases than other ethnic groups.
 

Multicultural consumers in the US are influencing product development across all food categories, including meat and poultry. Flavors and cuisines are blending and evolving as the population shifts. Understanding the preferences of different demographics assists with product development and ingredient selection.

Multicultural shoppers spend $40 billion on fresh products annually and devote 21 percent of their annual food spend to fresh, according to a survey by Nielsen, New York. These consumers also spend 4 percent more on fresh than white non-Hispanics, which amounts to $60 million in sales annually.

A high-level snapshot of shopping behaviors for three key ethnic groups – African-Americans, Asian and Hispanic – highlights unique needs and preferences across the fresh departments. All three groups over-index in meat and seafood department spend, with African-American households spending 44 percent of their perishables dollars in meat and seafood. Asian consumers spend more than twice as much on seafood as white non-Hispanic households.

Seventy-three percent of Hispanic variety meat purchasers agree they would shop at a particular store because of variety meat selection.
The growing Hispanic population is influencing the availability of variety meats at retail, which fosters loyalty and increases store visits.
 

Protein preferences vary across the groups. Nielsen research shows Asian consumers have a stronger preference for unbranded meat and seafood products than other groups. For example, Asian shoppers spend roughly 35 percent of their fresh seafood dollars on branded products while white non-Hispanics and African-American shoppers spend closer to 55 percent.

The deli is all about convenience, with African-American, Hispanic and white non-Hispanic households all reporting an increased deli spend. What they are buying, however, varies. White non-Hispanics often seek out and sometimes drive sales of products outside their own culture, such as sushi or guacamole, while Hispanics spend heavily on Hispanic specialty cheeses and convenient meal solutions. African-American shoppers spend less in the deli, with their spending swaying toward convenient meal solutions such as prepared chicken, sides and platters. Asian consumers, on the other hand, use the deli less for prepared options and more for specialty meat and cheese purchases.

Overall, the survey showed 32 percent of all Americans would pay more for a brand that understands multicultural needs. Nearly half would shop more at a retailer that offers a wider selection of multicultural products.

These insights were derived from a Harris Poll of 2,034 US adults aged 18-plus surveyed online between June 7 and 9, 2016, and the Nielsen Homescan Total Shopper View Specialty Panel.

 

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