Meeting the Needs of Hispanic Consumers

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A new Pork Checkoff report identifies ways for food retailers and packers to better connect with the highly influential Hispanic market. National Pork Board director of multicultural marketing Jose de Jesus outlines the key motivators for U.S. Hispanic consumers. This Time to Tango: Latinos are Pork’s Future report is part of the Pork Checkoff’s Insight to Action research effort.


Don Wick


Jose de Jesus, Director, Multicultural Marketing, National Pork Board




Don Wick: 00:00 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines Iowa, it’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff, and today our guest is Jose de Jesus, who is the director of multicultural marketing for the National Pork Board. The Pork Checkoff has a new report released called “Time to Tango, Latinos are Pork’s Future” . And Jose, let’s talk about it. What are we finding in this report?

Jose de Jesus: 00:35 Our new report that’s coming out, it’s called “Time to Tango, Latinos are Pork’s Future” and the report basically it’s a comprehensive study that we did with Pork Checkoff dollars to really better understand the Hispanic market. As we know, Hispanics have a great affinity for the product and they consume pork at a high rate and as part of their culture, if you will, right? But we needed to understand some of those attitudes and behaviors and any potential barriers that were existing with that market. So to that end, we conducted that research, spent over the last year, year and a half sort of looking at this market. And what we found was that there is quite a bit of consumption. In fact, more Latinos consume pork than the non-Hispanic community.

Jose de Jesus: 01:38 So again, this is an important market for us, but we also thought, or we also found that consumption sort of declines over time as Latinos tend to acculturate into the U S, so basically when Latinos start integrating some of the lifestyle culture from the U S, that’s you know, to us the consumption aspect of declining, it’s a little bit concerning because here’s a product that is so relevant. And in the Latino culture, you know, obviously pork is number one globally and its really, its a luxury if you will, in some of these countries in Latin America so we do not want to lose that consumption. So what we identify was for the industry, basically, was three key motivators for retailers and packers that they can address to sort of help understand this market, cater to them, and ultimately keep them in their franchise, meaning keep them eating pork at a high rate, like those who are unacculturated Latinos, meaning that they still have or carry a lot of their tradition from their home country.

Jose de Jesus: 02:54 So number one was accessibility. So 79% of Hispanic consumer, they shop with someone else in their family and they seek out stores that offer the variety that they’re used to. In other words, the assortment, right? So I think retailers must provide the right assortment in their stores so that they can cater to the needs and wants of this Latino community. Simply just offering what’s available today, not necessarily appealing as much as it could be for this Latino demographic. So, number one is that accessibility, making sure that the right products are represented in the grocery store. Number two was the health, and health meaning that while there’s a lot of consumption as Latino acculture in this country, they see, they have misconceptions about pork, and therefore consumption tends to decline.

Jose de Jesus: 03:57 So they see pork as, that the healthiness of it and the nutritional value, it’s seen as probably not understood as much and therefore is a barrier for consumption. So what we’re asking the industry to do is to really understand this and how can we engage with the Latino community to make sure that they’re understanding the nutritional value of pork. And I think we can do that effectively with a little bit of a refocus in the industry pork. We know pork is safe to eat, is a healthy protein and should be part of everybody’s diet. But we need to communicate that value to the consumer so that, you know, essentially we’re giving them permission to eat and they feel good about what they’re eating. So that’s number two, and then authenticity. You know, Latinos eat pork in many different ways, and I think providing at the store level some of those options that are even from a flavor perspective, what are some of those ingredient base that we can offer so that Latino feel like, you know, you have, not only do you have the meat, but you have the type of ingredients that I’m looking for to make my dishes.

Jose de Jesus: 05:14 It’s really having a good understanding of the community. So if you are in Florida where there’s high population of Cubans, I mean the way they use ingredients and the type of pork cuts that they use may differ from somebody from the west coast. I’ll give you an example. Or even in New York, right? So in New York, there’s a lot of picnics that are being sold because there’s a lot of Puerto Ricans and Caribbean type folks over there. But in the west coast there’s a lot of shoulders, right? And being sold because that’s what they, the Mexicans use for carnitas, right? So it’s really having the right products, but also from a pre-marinated its important because when you go to one of these Latino stores or bodegas, what they excel at is they offer fresh meat, but it’s already prepared.

Jose de Jesus: 06:13 So in other words, already marinated, I should say, and all you have to do is just buy it and you cook it at home. So they, it’s kind of a convenience thing. So you have a lot of different options, but it’s pre-marinated with authentic flavors, right? So it’s really about understanding what those authentic flavors are for the community that your stores are in so that you can deliver that. So if it’s, if you’re in a Mexican community, what are those flavors? If you’re more in a Caribbean, Thai, what are those flavors so that you’re really delivering on their experience and their expectation of what authenticity means.

Don Wick: 06:48 Obviously a very important research. From a producer standpoint, what does it mean? How does it help pork producers?

Jose de Jesus: 06:54 Well, we couldn’t do it without them. I think thinking about producers, they want to make sure that their product gets sold and they can get you know, obviously the most value for the product. So we’re thinking if we can really expand from a consumption standpoint and from a market availability, if we can have the right products and Latinos are buying their pork and rather than turning to alternative proteins, I think that’s a good thing, right? Because we’re selling more pork to more people and you know, Latinos are loyal customers. So if we really understand their needs and meet their needs, I think they’ll keep coming back. And that ultimately benefits our producers,

Don Wick: 07:35 Thank you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, please visit