Industry News | September 8, 2008

Study: Hispanics Reward Kids with Snacks

New research from Mintel shows that not all Americans snack the same. Hispanics, the fastest growing population in the U.S., differ significantly in their snacking habits.

Mintel's exclusive consumer survey reveals that Hispanic adults are twice as likely as non-Hispanics to reward their children's good behavior with salty snacks (41 percent versus 19 percent).

But salty snack consumption among Hispanic adults is low, possibly due to traditional food preferences. Of five snacks--potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, and corn/tortilla chips/cheese snacks--only 65 percent of Hispanics report eating three or more regularly (versus 80 percent of the general population).

Other key Mintel findings include:

-- Hispanics emphasize mealtime, with snacks often perceived as appetite-spoilers. Mintel found Hispanics more interested in packages with "small portions" than the general population.

-- Frozen snack usage is extremely low among less acculturated Hispanics, but more acculturated Hispanics eat them at the same rate as other Americans.

-- Hispanic children show higher preference for healthy snacks like yogurt, cheese, raw veggies, and nuts than non-Hispanic children.

"Manufacturers need to understand that Hispanic's eating habits are not the same as the general population's," says Leylha Ahuile, multicultural expert at Mintel. "Even among Hispanics, we see huge variety in snacking, eating, and drinking tendencies."

Ahuile emphasizes the importance of not viewing Hispanics as one homogenous group. "Understanding acculturation and how Hispanics differ from one another is key for companies hoping to tap into this rapidly growing market."

Add new comment