Research shows Hispanic households tend to enjoy speaking Spanish, cooking, and place more emphasis on family time.
Produce suppliers confirm these characteristics, both in their experience in business and as shoppers to Hispanic retailers.
Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Inc. BB #:111686 in Los Angeles, says Hispanic retail produce departments tend to be much larger than a mainstream store.
“Hispanic retailers really like bulk packs because of the larger family sizes, especially for meals,” he says. “Hispanic shoppers look for value, and there’s value bought in bulk.”
“Produce is important to Hispanic consumers,” says Jorge Vazquez, president of Latin Specialties, LLC BB #:165092 in Houston, TX. “They buy more in bulk than the general market.”
Vazquez also agrees that Hispanic stores have larger produce departments. “We see bigger displays, less packaging, good price points,” he notes. “They have a full line of products for people who cook often. Hispanic retailers really cater to Hispanic tastes, and they know how to promote.”
Raquel Espinoza, director of sales and marketing for Produce House LLC, BB #:300387 in Nogales, AZ, says Hispanic consumers care about quality, but that doesn’t always mean a fruit or vegetable’s appearance. “We’re less concerned about the cosmetics of produce, we care about quality though,” she explains.
“Hispanic retailers find value for consumers,” Espinoza adds. “Maybe it’s a size or color or quality level, [but] in my opinion, they’re an outlet for products of a different quality.”
Alex Jackson Berkley, sales manager for Frieda’s Inc. BB #:127169 in Los Angeles, says being based in Southern California, where so many Hispanic retail stores succeed, she gets to see the business up close as a supplier and consumer.
“Our sales to Hispanic retailers have been growing each month,” she says. “There are a huge variety of Hispanic retailers in Southern California, and many are changing their mix away from only traditional Hispanic items.”
Additionally, she says Hispanic retailers have a distinct marketing strategy. “The merchandising is fantastic—it’s easy to see what they have and what’s on sale. They have different hot buys every week, but they have great quality too. Hispanic retailers have eye-catching displays that make product look different.”
This is a multi-part spotlight feature on the Hispanic produce market adapted from the October 2019 issue of Produce Blueprints.