The Surprising Link Between Acculturation and Healthy Eating Among Hispanic Consumers

Fun Fact Friday

This week we released our updated State of the Hispanic American Consumer Report, which explores the nuances of the continually growing US Hispanic market. The report highlights some key differences among Hispanic populations through lenses like age and geography. Another helpful way to look at this varied consumer group is to segment by acculturation level. For this week’s Fun Fact Friday, we decided to create a slight twist on the general acculturation view (which is available in the data) and look at segments based on how strongly they identify with their culture of origin.

Thank to our Brand Catalyst tool, this analysis is pretty easy! Using variables from the National Hispanic Consumer Study, we created two segments: respondents who indicated they had a high level of identity with their culture of origin versus those with a low level of identity.

Immediately the tool surfaced differences among these groups. Our “High ID” group (on the left) likes to stand out in a crowd but is a little more fiscally pessimistic. On the flip side, our “Low ID” group is fiscally optimistic (although they aren’t as likely to purchase big or medium ticket items anytime soon) and feels isolated. Our Low ID group exhibits its level of acculturation with the top brands that emerge. For our Low ID group, we see the top brand list dominated by mainstream American brands. In contrast, our High ID group features many Hispanic brands, especially food related ones.

Food, and sharing meals with family and friends, is important to our Hispanic respondents, and the results of the top brand list left us wondering what other differences might exist between these two groups when it comes to where they’re eating.

An additional Brand Catalyst analysis showed us the most popular fast food/fast casual restaurants. The screen shots below show the lists sorted in descending level of popularity for each segment (the index references a comparison to the US Hispanic adult population). The two groups show highly differentiated preferences when it comes to where they’re eating out. Interestingly Orange Leaf, Au Bon Pain, and Noodles & Company all popped for our High ID group. These brands feature healthier options compared to some of the alternatives (for example, Orange Leaf’s fro-yo is conceived as a healthier option compared to the regular ice cream our Low ID segment is eating at Cold Stone). In probing deeper into the diet and lifestyle of our segments, we noticed more interesting differences. Notably, our High ID segment is much more likely to try new health foods and more likely to be providing health and nutrition information to friends. These findings are counterintuitive to some of the existing research around less-acculturated Hispanic segments and their health and diet preferences. Is that a new market segment I smell cooking?

Want to do your own fast and easy segment analysis? Contact us to learn how.

Jennifer Olson
Jennifer Olson
Jennifer Olson is the Director of Marketing at MRI-Simmons. She has worked in the world of marketing and media research for over 30 years on both the supplier and vendor sides. Finding insights in data makes her happy, and she's perpetually searching for new data visualization ideas.