Hispanics in America

NPD report uncovers changing eating habits with acculturation

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -- Hispanics in America reveal that the more acculturated they become, the more they take on American eating habits, according to The NPD Group's recent At the Table with Hispanic Families Across America report. With acculturation comes an increased focus on quick and convenient meals and a movement away from foods traditionally preferred by Hispanics.

Results of the study show that eggs, tea, chips, potatoes and frozen dinners/entrees/pot pies/sandwiches are foods that become more popular as Hispanics acculturate. Leaf salads, [image-nocss] fresh vegetables, fruit juice, milk, tortillas and fresh fruit are foods that become less popular with acculturation.

NPD also saw a decline in cooking from scratch. Hispanics are more likely to cook from scratch than non-Hispanics; however, the importance of homemade cooking declines as Hispanics acculturate. Even the most-acculturated Hispanics cook from scratch more often than the general population, though.

Soup is the most popular dish made from scratch among the least-acculturated Hispanics. They prepare homemade soup nearly three times as often as non-Hispanics, but this rate drops off dramatically with acculturation.

Hispanics are twice as likely to use spices/seasonings in the home than non-Hispanics. Usage drops off by half among the most acculturated group, over the least acculturated group. Garlic is the most popular spice used by Hispanics and non-Hispanics, but Hispanics use it nearly three times more often.

While most people typically eat eggs at breakfast, Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to eat eggs at lunch and dinner as well. The least acculturated Hispanics eat eggs at the same rate as the general population; however, they become heavier consumers as they become acculturated.

Another difference is that the least-acculturated Hispanics mix vegetables into their eggs, which is not a common practice for non-Hispanics.

Hispanics are nearly twice as likely as non-Hispanics to eat leaf salads at lunch. The least acculturated Hispanics, as well as somewhat acculturated Hispanics, share this preference; however, U.S.-born Hispanics do not.

While leaf salads at lunch lose favor with Hispanics as they acculturate, chips grow in prominence with Hispanic acculturation.

At quick-service restaurants, total Hispanics typically order eggs, pancakes and sausage more often than non-Hispanics at breakfast. Burgers and chicken sandwiches are ordered more often by total Hispanics than non-Hispanics at lunch, and ham, chicken nuggets and burritos/tacos are ordered more often by total Hispanics than non-Hispanics at dinner. Carbonated soft drinks and juice are more popular beverages among Hispanics as well.

As we continue to learn about the impact of the Hispanic market in the U.S., we also recognize the influences of America's eating patterns on Hispanics, said Ann Hanson, director of The NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y. She added, The various levels of acculturation are a good indication of how Hispanics incorporate a more American' way of eating.

The report is an analysis of information collected during a yearlong study, during which Hispanic households reported their meals and snacks both in and away from home. Both Spanish and English language-dominant Hispanics participated. The information in the report can be used to create stronger Hispanic marketing programs, and as input into product development strategies, NPD said.

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