Insights offer a look into why shoppers purchase and prefer certain items over others. When it comes to Hispanic shoppers, we know this is a growing demographic in the U.S., but retail and foodservice providers often struggle with how to cater to this growing population. It’s easy to see what is happening, but we wanted to understand why.
To help retailers discern the increasingly influential Hispanic demographic, Robinson Fresh® conducted a survey of U.S. Hispanic shoppers to better understand how they purchase, what they buy, and recommended pricing strategies. The full insights are available at the Robinson Fresh website on the category insights page.
Insights and action into three key Hispanic fresh produce commodities
In our survey, we found that Hispanic shoppers seek out retailers with a good Hispanic assortment—most will share with others when a retailer with good selection is found, and most are willing to go out of their way to travel to a store that has products Hispanic shoppers are looking to purchase.
In our research, we asked about three specific commodities where we wanted to better understand what Hispanic shoppers really preferred: limes, jalapenos, and bell peppers. What we found might surprise you:
Contrary to what most U.S. shoppers report, 2/3 of Hispanic shoppers prefer a lime that’s lighter green in appearance with thin, smooth skin. Lime is an important flavor in Hispanic cuisine, so it’s not surprising that Hispanic shoppers know how to select one that is more flavorful and juicier. If you want to cater to what Hispanic shoppers are looking for, lime appearance is very important to get right. However, because this goes against what most U.S. shoppers believe signals good quality, communication at the store level is important.
Retail stores in the U.S. typically carry jalapenos that are uniform in color and free from scarring. However, 28% of Hispanic shoppers actually prefer the second option presented if given the choice. Why? Because Hispanic shoppers understand that corking (as seen in the second jalapeno image) is not a sign of inferior quality, rather, a signal for maturity and heat. The desire for spicy peppers isn’t unique to Hispanic shoppers, but many shoppers simply don’t know what to look for. We recommend expanding specs to allow for more corking, alongside communication with shoppers on what to look for based on cooking and flavors desired. We believe accommodations like this demonstrates expertise on behalf of retailers to their shoppers and can generate excitement around this commodity.
Fresh Bell Peppers
Unlike limes or jalapenos, when we asked about preferences for size of bell peppers, Hispanic shopper feedback was split. While those shoppers who chose the larger pepper liked the size for stuffed pepper recipes, most were simply attracted to the value when compared with the smaller pepper. They liked it because they believed they were getting more for their money. For those who preferred the smaller bell pepper, a surprisingly high share said that food waste was a driver for their decision, particularly younger shoppers. Many report they just don’t need that much bell pepper at one time and often end up throwing some away. Because Hispanic shoppers don’t overwhelmingly prefer one size over the other, carrying a smaller size might be a good fit. There is an added bonus in cost as well – often smaller sizes of bell peppers are less expensive, lending themselves to more attractive retail prices.
Emerging fresh produce items
Innovation is an important part of all industries and produce is no exception. When we studied the differences in buying patterns by age group of Hispanic shoppers, we were able to identify upward potential in a few niche items. Younger Hispanic shoppers were much more likely to report buying these commodities routinely; don’t underestimate their potential as assortment and merchandising plans are made.
- Dried Peppers
Stay current with shopping insights
Hispanic shopper insights is just the tip of the iceberg for our team on the information advantage we provide. For starters, we have more details on our research centered on the purchasing behaviors and motivating shopping factors of U.S. Hispanic shoppers part 1 of this series, “What retailers need to know about today’s Hispanic shoppers.”
At Robinson Fresh, we provide consumer and category insights to help grow our customers’ business through our global suite of products and services. Connect with one of our fresh experts to talk about how we can put together the right fresh produce program for your business.