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The Checkout: Hispanics’ Path to Purchase Revealed

Last week Univision revealed the findings of a study conducted in partnership with SmartRevenue that tracks the “Hispanic Path to Purchase.  Discussed at a “Hispanic 411: Insights to Grow Your Business” webinar, the study zeroed in on the decision making process for Hispanics, beginning before they set foot in the store, until the actual purchase itself. With grocery categories too numerous to examine, the study focused on the snacks and frozen foods categories to look at a wide range of meal types and shopping behaviors.

With my colleague, Liz Sanderson, vice president of Brand Solutions, we presented the study’s key findings, which include:

Prepping traditional meals for family is highly valued, but the need for convenient foods is increasing. In the Hispanic home, cooking traditional foods goes beyond providing healthy, nutritious meals; it represents the importance of family time and offers a way to keep the Hispanic culture alive. Yet with today’s increasingly busy lifestyles, Hispanic shoppers are experiencing a paradigm shift in their meal prep, trip planning and shopping frequency; especially if they recently moved from their country of origin to the U.S.

This shift in planning is not something non-Hispanics wrestle with, so it means that many Hispanics are left needing to develop new and convenient meal and food planning strategies. This offers an opportunity for brands to reach Hispanic shoppers with messaging that reflects both needs – maintaining tradition and convenience.

Hispanics are significantly less inclined than non-Hispanics to rely on frozen foods to create an entire meal (46 percent vs. 59 percent of non-Hispanics); however, 42 percent of Hispanics will incorporate frozen products as part of the meal they are preparing, creating “hybrid meals.”

Different food options are considered and prepared for “la merienda” and snack occasions . The Path to Purchase study found that Hispanics are more likely to incorporate snacks throughout their day than non-Hispanics (23 percent vs. 15 percent of non-Hispanics), as well as consume snacks at work. Additionally, because of the Hispanic custom called “la merienda” (a shared small meal in the afternoon), Hispanics and non-Hispanics differ on the foods they choose to eat for snacks.

Hispanic shopping trips are more likely to be socially influenced. Although restocking is a leading trip driver for both Hispanics and non-Hispanics, the study illustrated Hispanics’ focus on family by revealing that nearly 40 percent of Hispanics shop with their immediate family, while only 18 percent of non-Hispanics do so. The study also found that Hispanics are more likely to consider recommendations from friends or family members (36 percent) compared to non-Hispanics (22 percent) when making frozen food purchases.

Satisfying others is critical for frozen and snack purchases. Knowing that others will be satisfied is the third most important factor in deciding to make a purchase for Hispanics, behind only taste and flavor. Fifty nine percent of Hispanics cite “knowing others will like it” as a factor when purchasing a frozen food vs. 36 percent of non-Hispanics.

Using these insights gives us a better understanding of how and why Hispanics make their purchase decisions. And it’s also crucial data when developing a proper roadmap that links pre-store and in-store influencers.

By taking note of these key differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers, CPG marketers can gain a better understanding of their consumers, and in turn, it may result in a shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more shopper-centric marketing strategy.

To view the replay of the “Hispanic 411” webin discussing these results, please click here. For more information, including topics we were unable to cover in the webinar, please contact Liz at  And be sure to stay tuned for our next webinar taking place on Sept. 13 on the Hispanic vote.

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