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Demographic changes alter Midwest consumer demand

Population diversity is changing consumer demand in the Heartland.

Hispanic populations have increased in every market profiled, and traditional Latin American favorites are solidly on the menu. A recent Technomic study on ethnic food and beverage trends finds most consumers are willing to pay a premium for what they consider authentic ethnic fare.

Among the key takeaways of the 2018 report were that 87 percent of those surveyed who enjoy ethnic foods or flavors were willing to pay more for them than standard options, and more than a third (36 percent) actively enjoy exploring new ethnic cuisine and trying new foods.

In line with this trend are numerous trending items crossing the border, including the endlessly popular avocado, multiple types of melon to augment the Midwest’s summer supply, hot peppers, berries, and citrus, including lemons (though supply is limited) and the increasingly can’t-do-without-it lime.

Brendan Comito, COO at Capital City Fruit Company Inc., in West Des Moines, Iowa, confirms the surge in avocado demand is alive and well. “Avocados continue to be a growth item.”

“The demand for avocados is strong everywhere, and the Midwest is no exception,” says Sam Maglio, Jr., president of the Maglio Companies, Milwaukee, WI. “We added two new ripening rooms to meet the demand,” he says, and the company’s “fresh-cut side is working on salsa and guacamole recipes to satisfy the demand for ready-to-eat ethnic foods.”


This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full article.


Matt Ernst writes about farm-related topics and is based near St. Louis, Missouri.