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Growing Hispanic Market Segment Shows Strong Preference For Thirst Quenchers And Imports

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 8/6/2012

Cultural traditions and other factors drive beverage trends among Hispanics and create opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Latino community.

It's common knowledge that Hispanics are one of the fastest growing segments in today's consumer marketplace. As businesses large and small compete for Hispanic/Latino dollars, new research reveals Hispanic buying trends for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Hispanic Beverage Marketing

According to a recent study by consumer research firm, Mintel, Hispanic are more likely to purchase thirst-quenchers or sports drinks than any other ethnic group: 56% of Hispanic consumers purchase thirst-quenchers compared to 38% of Caucasians, 50% of African-Americans, and 39% of Asians. Researchers indicate that the popularity of sports drinks among Hispanics is most likely due to the youth of the Hispanic market as well as the prevalence of manual labor jobs among Hispanic workers.

In the alcoholic beverage category, Hispanics clearly prefer beer above any other drink. Specifically, Hispanics drink more imported beer than any other ethnic consumer segment. More than one in four U.S. Hispanics consume tequila -- a reflection of the fact that 63% of Hispanics in the U.S. are of Mexican origin. However, wine ranks as one the least preferred beverages among Hispanics with just 23% of Hispanics identifying themselves as wine drinkers compared to 33% of the general population.

"Many US Hispanics, particularly Mexicans, have not been exposed to wine in their home country, so there isn't a wine drinking culture or tradition," said Leylha Ahuile, senior multi-cultural analyst at Mintel. "However, we expect this to change in the coming years as it is already on the rise. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of glasses of wine consumed by Hispanics per month increased by nearly 50%. Many of these Hispanic wine consumers are second or third generation and their level of acculturation is impacting their wine consumption habits."

Wine consumption trends demonstrate the impact acculturation and similar market pressures have on Hispanics as well as other ethnic consumer groups. "When choosing how to spend their beverage dollars, Hispanics' country of origin, income, acculturation level and age drive their purchasing decisions," adds Leylha Ahuile. "Lifestyle is also important, including family size and the presence of children in the household."

Trends in Hispanic beverage consumption are important not only for ethnic entrepreneurs, but for any business in the restaurant, food service or grocery industries. By staying in touch with beverage buying patterns, entrepreneurs can adjust their strategies to better serve your Hispanic customer base.

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