Hispanics view snacks as a reward

Hispanic adults are twice as likely as non-Hispanics to reward their children’s good behavior with salty snacks (41 percent versus 19 percent), according to a study by Chicago-based Mintel. At the same time, salty snack consumption among Hispanic adults is low, possibly due to traditional food preferences. Of five snacks—potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, nuts and corn/tortilla chips/cheese snacks—only 65 percent of Hispanics, the largest growing population of the U.S., report eating three or more regularly (versus 80 percent of the general population). Other findings include: Hispanics emphasize mealtime, and snacks are often perceived as appetite-spoilers; they are more interested in packages with “small portions” than the general population; frozen snack usage is extremely low among less acculturated Hispanics, but more acculturated Hispanics eat them at the same rate as other Americans; and Hispanic children show higher preference for healthy snacks like yogurt, cheese, raw veggies and nuts than non-Hispanic children.

It’s important to not view Hispanics as one homogenous group. “Understanding acculturation and how Hispanics differ from one another is key for companies hoping to tap into this rapidly growing market,” says Leylha Ahuile, multicultural expert at Mintel. “Even among Hispanics, we see huge variety in snacking, eating and drinking tendencies.”