by Jose deJesus, Director of Multicultural Marketing
The National Pork Board recently closed out the final rounds of qualitative work in the U.S. by conducting a set of focus groups with Hispanic pork consumers in Phoenix. Late in 2017 and throughout 2018, we conducted qualitative research in key Hispanic markets – Chicago, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix.
The ultimate goal was to understand Hispanic perceptions of pork and the affinity for the protein. According to Geoscape Research, there are more than 60 million Hispanics in the U.S. and that number will grow to 70 million by 2022. Most of the Hispanics living in the U.S. now come from Mexico, so any research conducted domestically must account for this segment. Some of the markets we visited illustrate this, including Phoenix.
Below are a few highlights from the Phoenix focus group:
- Similar to the other markets visited for the qualitative exploration, Hispanics (both unacculturated and biculturals) express a strong affinity for pork and pork dishes.
- The prevalence of Mexican culture in Phoenix (and proximity to the border) is deeply influential in driving the appeal of pork and ‘all things Mexican’ when it comes to foods: the appreciation of pork and traditional dishes that are anchored or feature pork was greater in Phoenix than in other markets.
- Flavor can topple convenience. While Hispanics in Phoenix want convenience, flavor has a greater pull and all the interviewees’ favor cooking at home, from scratch and adhering to traditional flavor profiles over convenience meals (packaged).
- American foods are indeed part of their diets; however, they take a backseat to Mexican/Latin dishes primarily due to flavor profile and depth. Hispanics in Phoenix often described American food as “bland,” perhaps more than any other market.
- Retailers that cater to Hispanic consumers can be a source of inspiration and variety, all the while offering convenience to Hispanic consumers as they feature a wide range of options for consumers: from ‘naked’ pork cuts to semi-prepared (pre-sliced) to pre-seasoned meats.
- Mainstream retailers, although lacking the variety of authentic ‘Latino’ products, offer a taste of authenticity and appeal to Hispanics by carrying meat cuts labeled – and sometimes seasoned – to fit popular Mexican dishes (e.g. chorizo, al pastor-style meat, etc.).
To recap, Hispanics in Phoenix have a close relationship with pork. Culture, heritage and tradition have a lot to do with that. Not only do Hispanics have an emotional connection with pork, but also it is a growing demographic which is good news for the pork industry.