Authenticity is Everything in Hispanic Cuisine

Authenticity holds a very special place in the heart of Hispanic cuisine. Recipes are often passed down from generation to generation, helping Hispanics stay connected to their heritage. In fact, our research found that 63% of Hispanics prefer foods from their culture or country of origin. From pork tamales in Mexican cuisine, to pasteles de cerdo in Puerto Rican cuisine, authentic dishes, especially those with pork, link the past to the present.

While it may seem like stocking Latin cuisine items would appease this demographic at retail, it’s not that simple. Authenticity plays a huge role in numerous aspects of Hispanic culture and extends beyond a list of ingredients in a recipe book. It includes behaviors, experiences, gatherings and holiday traditions, and it must be addressed in a thoughtful, cohesive way.

Take shoppers’ country of origin, for example. It varies by location across the United States, and in the northeast alone, country or areas of origin predominance varies widely state to state. So if a retailer is catering primarily to Mexican consumers in an area that’s populated by Puerto Ricans, for example, they could be missing out on a large chunk of business.


In the coming weeks, we’ll explore the various elements of authenticity and what retailers can do to better cater to the local Hispanic population. Specifically, we’ll discuss the role family plays in grocery shopping, the needs and preferences of the top countries of Hispanic origin, and the enthusiasm behind at-home cooking.

It’s crucial for retailers to learn and understand all of these elements, because as we’ve discussed, Hispanics have no problem taking their business elsewhere if their needs aren’t being met. With the holidays approaching, many Hispanics will be shopping for the pork cuts and ingredients that are mainstays in traditional, authentic dishes. And if those cuts aren’t available, they will turn to bodegas and specialty markets to find what they need — and they’ll likely complete the rest of their holiday meal shopping list there, too.

To learn more about the importance of authenticity to Hispanic consumers, download Time to Tango: Latinos are Pork’s Future.