household food purchases in non. Scottsdale and Nogales. haven’t necessarily driven those sales over the previous year. The northward spread of Hispanic culture may have set the stage for salsa’s stellar sales. salsa con- supremacy as a sign of things to come. annually. the of the nation by 2030. In the May 1997 issue of The to media executives to the very food 8% more of which goes to weekly Atlantic Monthly. Marketing. sumption to two groups: “upscale . At nearly 40 million strong already — 44 million. But collective annual buying power esti. America’s best at least a factor of 10 in coming years. But while the And with their growth rate expected themselves. Michael J. value of courting Hispanic-American P metaphor for the Latiniza- tion of the United States often seize upon the para- ble of the two competing condiments. fastest-growing ethnic minority. lagged behind Hispanics will account for one-third Veronica Kraushaar. everyone from demographers mated at $580 billion. reported that demographic surveys ments in the first place accepted salsa’s Hispanic homes. consultant to Texa at a mere $600 million. that works out to a TX. As the story goes. the year try’s largest. Salsa: a case study Contributing Editor the story encapsulates a larger truth So does salsa’s success send a mes- about the changing flavor of North sage to food manufacturers about the undits in search of a pithy American life: Hispanics are the coun. and principle of Vanguard Ethnic Photo: Kraft Food Ingredients softens some of the statistic’s punch. or jarred salsas are Anglos.” says seller for nearly a century. higher price of salsa relative to ketchup dollar amounts. Weiss manufacturers who produced the condi. To be fair. COVER STORY Crossing Borders: Designing for the Hispanic Demographic By Kimberly J. approximately AZ.. outpacing the but Hispanic-American consumers York.S. or 500. if you count Puerto Rico — the demographic is increasing at a rate of 7%.000 food dollars? Yes.S. but the message isn’t as straightforward as manufac- turers might think. was 1992 and Packaged Facts. to exceed the general population’s by “The biggest consumers of canned lion. ascribe the greatest U. New households. ever since. sales of ketchup. reported a 14% rise in salsa sales U. Decker For despite its oversimplification. Translated into Sweet Citrus Marketing Inc. Census Bureau’s 1999 forecasts. Mission. spicy sauce raked in a record $640 mil.

and cilantro familiar to us rep.” In fact. politics. Puerto Rican and Cuban descent. pico de gallo. at that. who can afford to buy Further complicating matters. citrusy mojo criollo. onions. American tastes to appeal to a broad. or a populations exist: those of Mexican. How- ever. salsa 20 nationalities spread across the tropics. Moreover. the term “His- panic” unites as an ethnicity those who trace their ancestry to the countries of the Spanish-speaking world. toma. this particular salsa panic. Inc. It’s no coinci. it’s just another variety One name.” er spectrum of non-Latinos. Waukesha.S. and in a mixture of dialects. low-fat content. such a classification hardly narrows things down. tion rates — Miami and New York Even the Spanish heritage that unites he quips. As Joe Bavone. North American salsa may City — also host sizable Cuban and them survives only to varying degrees have supplanted ketchup because. race.” says Don McCaskill. with atypically low salsa consump. mountains. the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Puerto Rican communities. Latinos can calibrate the resents only a sliver of the salsa spec. R&D manag. “essentially. ates tension among those so broadly That way.” for whom from dried chiles and vinegar. mild. which trum — and a predominantly Mexican of the term exists for some members may differ markedly from store-bought one. and South American immigrants.” says Leigh Enderle. WI. and hot now. Givaudan Flavors. “Those individu- adopted salsa early in their explo. “You have so many question marks hanging over you when you’re designing for Hispanic Ameri- cans. gar- nishes and salsa. a condiment that is more expensive — Spanish for sauce — can mean any. More accurately called a of the population identified as His- salsas. cities tral American refugees and immigrants.” and what he calls ice cream to a scorching paste made Such a broad definition inevitably “downscale Latino families. a simple accent of flavoring can spin it in any number of original directions. North American consumers immigrants from South America or Inc. In the strictest sense. vice pres- er. many cultures Latin Americans have often distin- of ketchup” — a sweetish. lumping together nearly Anglo families. so are more likely to equate “salsa” with in reality. ration of Latin-American cuisines. Stuttgart. market re- search manager. Weiss notes. that two U. a parsley-speckled chimichurri. defined. food manufactur.” tionary tale about the complexity of talism and the sheer weight of pre- . capi- find in parts of Mexico. confuses outsiders and cre- pare from scratch. AK. “Some level of resentment sauce’s flavor to their own tastes. Cincinnati. With the basic elements of dairy. coasts and grass- than ketchup and who appreciate salsa’s thing from the caramel poured over lands of the western hemisphere. but even the America’s future. Kerry Americas. But given the reach of Spain’s colonial empire. wouldn’t strike much of a chord with ident for research. who als make a case that it generalizes when. developing products to please the Hispanic market. So while demographers might see guished themselves from each other to-based sauce. the saga of salsa as a snapshot of by reacting against their shared inher- medium. explains. process. an appetizer can appeal to a wide range of cultural groups. Riceland Foods. Catholic Church. oped here with Latinos’ tastes in mind. itance. chunky concoction of fresh tomatoes. First question: Who are Hispanic Americans? Photo: Danisco USA. The masks local distinctions — and in the salsa is a staple that they’d rather pre. Local responses to the Roman hot isn’t necessarily as hot as you would ers would be wise to heed it as a cau. several distinctly different the product “was never really devel. desserts. Cen- It was essentially homogenized to dence.. “You can get mild.

” olives. Europeans brought wheat. contrary to popular U. Mexicans world — would eat forever (this phe. Selesnick continues. “It’s not usually incorporated as a Latin-American cuisine we’ve learned pigs and chickens — while the indige. vital ingredient in a main dish. rants bill themselves as “Mexican. in everything from soups to salads to account for nearly two-thirds of the nomenon is known in some circles as stuffed chiles. CA.” from our neighbors to the immediate nous populations contributed what had Similarly. much of what we know about livestock — including cattle. climate. Kerry Ingredients. you’d find in Costa Rica or Caracas. crispy corn snacks fried ing chiles to season its foods. Spain’s for- mer Caribbean colonies also cling to African traditions. and post-Columbian history have all carved out unique identities for Latin Americans that defeat the notion of a monolithic Hispanic culture. “If you look Ricans and Cubans coming in at only in a book written in 1972 by social to Cuba or Puerto Rico.S. more on capers and olives than sear- La cocina mestiza bean dishes. litera.” as described other Hispanic countries. For exam. “Only tion patterns and the unstoppable march pineapples.S. not all Latin-American foods But geography. or “mixed ident. more than potluck where the Old World met the says Barbara Gannon.” notes Denyse Selesnick. cassava. Inc.” explains Lionel Vil. How- ever. that give flavor without being hot. “Bolivians and Peruvians are strong- ly influenced by a mixture of Incan and Spanish culture. while visitors to Chile and Argentina comment on how European their city squares and tem- perate climate feel. Such standard Mexico. respectively. Mexican cheeses persist as edible arti. of corporate and marketing communi. although Mexican cooks use cheese As it happens. and to a smaller extent in of time have bred endless variations . sheep. Hispanic population.. Sargento Foods Inc.” that defines the Latin-Ameri. though. vice president 90% of our Latin-American restau- New. with Puerto the “Columbian Exchange. when they 10% and 4%. and you’ve got chiles bend to the same winds as culture. Venezuelans and Panamanians Photo: Sargento Foods. it’s often just as a snack. Crosby). And in Mexico and Central America. opinion. culinary coming together laid the foun. Inc. International Trade Information ture. pres- tinues to permeate spirituality. “So spicy food on what is now the Dominican Repub.” change the way the region — and the ple. chocolate. tomatoes and the in Mexico. leave a lingering capsaicin burn. south. show an African influence. rice-and. Even within everyday life.” ing to Givaudan resources. Woodland Hills. But they don’t persist everywhere. can table to this day.” And when Columbus made landfall facts of the Columbian Exchange. And accord- historian Alfred W..Mexicans have made cheese a staple in traditional dishes. like enchiladas. a region like Veracruz relies fare as wheat-flour tortillas. immigra- potatoes. a gust blew through that would or with the same popularity. R&D director for season- ings. Americanized products often sup- plant queso fresco with blends of yellow American and Cheddar cheeses. and the whole panoply of got fiery chiles. in Mexico is very different from what lic. the same isn’t true in U. whereas Colom- bians. vanilla. rice. is the food real- the Aztec and Mayan empires con. At the use cheese. the legacy of full scope of the genus Capsicum. dations for a cocina mestiza. This Guatemala and Peru. ly spicy. WI. sustained them for millennia: corn. turkey. bananas. Plymouth. architecture and the timbre of cuisine. Thus. citrus. “You’ve Latin America’s cuisines tend to in pork fat. sugarcane and cations.

it preserves. “It’s not that Hispanics don’t want the border. “It is human famously in the “sandwich Cubano” she says. Of course. And in parts of Venezuela and Colombia. own cultural identity when you are press. their parents or practice any of their cus- tries’ European expatriates. mustard and mayo. income levels. humitas. ty status.” she says. “It used to be that toms. pasteles are tamales wrapped Panaderías sell wheat rolls called teleras and in aromatic banana leaves. ture is what you eat. pop culture. the classic immigrant drive opportunity. arepas.” says Kraushaar. Cubans less as possible. or sandwich bling pot has waned. immigrants who introduced us to these or their language. chorizo. (The Cubano.” And therein lies the difference: terday’s pinto beans and fry them in time making themselves feel at home. assimilation erased. sandwiches sometimes have a harder ed. In Puerto Rico. where. their this cultural connection gives pro- yucca and other starches reign else. “They already are. demographic’s growth — take pride Americans exposed to the globe- or bakeries. Cubans would probably steer more A whopping 63% of U. flattened and to melt completely into America’s bub. with the United nature to try to preserve your tradi- — a baguette layered with ham.” says Rafael Toro. States on its way to minority-majori. ren. that eras and bolillos that. and where they settle. that doesn’t mean that you won’t find corn elsewhere. be king in Mexico. wich shop. a ham- ally impossible to make. Secaucus. mojo. adjustment to life north of the border found comfort. Salvadorans make a local version of the corn tor. Even in Mexico.. But they still eat the food. Argentina. too. They’re you. make Quechua name. where toward boiled black beans mixed with are immigrants. sell wheat rolls called tel.” Selesnick con. food serves as a les. “Food provides that marinated pork. was burger or Chinese food and still enjoy ferences in ingredients. vegetables and cheese. And corn may education.” also adopted French-style bread. make massive to become American. tions. where they whose only roots tap into memories. grants resolved to make theirs as seam. the ultimate ond. the menu board at any stateside sand. “Subtle dif. “You may find peo- made from wheat flour and in the points out.) But the Latin-American They don’t want to forget their roots personality of each. even sec. “nonpolitical way of holding onto your toasted in a plancha.and third-generation Hispanic being assaulted by the lifestyle of the culture of corn. potatoes. fresh-corn tamales dating back bolillos that. but rice.. in sustaining their parents’ and grand. but you’ll have to look for it in different guises.” and as Selesnick Inc. is just that: bread. Goya Foods. Acculturation blends what assimilation lard.” says Felipe Korzenny.S. take the — and the ability of their foodways to “The last thing you lose in your cul- place of the daily bread. earlier waves of immi. chorizo. cuisines of the Hispanic world virtu. They’re acculturat- So while Mexicans might mash yes.S. survive it — can vary widely. Now. tilla. and panaderías. The daily bread in Chile and We used to call this adjustment director of public relations. “There are emotional attachments sandwiches called tortas. Swiss cheese. Ph. preparation purportedly “invented” in Miami’s Little moles and salsas with their families.” For Latin the norm in the north. Old habits die hard Americans who can speak Spanish at dering a blanket statement about the Tortas and Cubanos fit right in on home and English with their friends. split in half and parents’ traditions. vegetables and cheese. came from. NJ. ple who don’t speak the language of French manner favored by the coun. . spanning din of U. But now. and even presentation are key to the Havana. Hispanics once dissolved. most everybody wanted to be assimilated. wheat-flour tortillas are Americans — the real engines of the country you immigrated to. They can go out for pizza. for instance. in fact. To an immigrant rice and fried plantains. called a pupusa.” Kraushaar concurs. But they’re to the food your mother prepared for a different kind of American. massive sandwiches called tortas.on a collective culinary theme. assault begins before they even cross filled with roasted meats. flat cornmeal buns. however. beans or cheese. and in South America.” In fact. and depending on age. tinues. pick. split in half and filled with roasted to indigenous times still go by their meats. which they stuff with meat. “assimilation.D.

CO. M. But we always says. “Shoppers will squeeze. scratch.) Kraushaar can’t emphasize ing time. CA. fondle enough that “family is everything to But even determined Hispanic. even pre-shred- expression of love for that family. your favorite Hispanic products.. roasted peppers and cheeses. with traditional practices longer. “When they make beans for the whole family. a Chicago-based consultant to can follow the advice of friends and point: Research from Swift & Com- Hispanic community groups and the family who arrived earlier about where pany. “the first generation still American communities abroad — fam. to go for the best prices and to find of Hispanic-American families sur- tinued growth of the Hispanic popu. . tres ing decisions. and generally manhandle everything. and be on their way. ing the best for the family.” according to Via Texas Marketing. a demographic their lunch at school. As easy as uno. predicts that the con. might feature spiced beef.” Selesnick says. Greeley. To some extent. Cheskin. this resistance to value-added products owes itself to simple frugality. “We’ve Granted. that the first-generation mother stayed Mission. Such determination is rare criteria for choosing a supermarket. coupled with its noted family ration as key factors in food purchas- solidarity. after all. Furthermore.. making of tamales reason to convene in an age when frenzied daily rhythms “Careful selection of each piece of a multigenerational party (Mexicans disconnect families members and leave produce is part of the pride of provid- even have a name for the events: tamal. dos.S.D. “now with So strong are these attachments that Klinger claims. Gannon notes. them fending for themselves at feed. compared with only 52% al and culinary traditions. For example. It makes a huge difference.” the Latino.” up with the demands of fast-paced ded cheeses rob some first-generation consumers of what they believe to be their sacred preparation oversight. “Consumers will buy Photo: Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association huge sacks of dried beans. such as the Cubano or torta. says. Such products can prove popular with both traditional and assimilated immigrants. by extension. 1 fide family outing and considers the Enderle. So “while it used Redwood Shores. Latin. With dried beans. they’re looking Sylvia Meléndez-Klinger. had many Hispanic mothers tell us: holds beliefs about freshness that pre- ily and food are two sides of the same ‘My kids might grab a quick breakfast vent them from consuming certain coin. America — and. to be. dinnertime is family of non-Hispanic whites.” veyed named speed and ease of prepa- lation.” Kraushaar adas. You much more for convenience.” Case in L. TX. “and those last ilies have five or more members. “they can keep you two parents working.” Korzenny This is. shows that 79% food industry. “And if you have more home and did all the cooking from Food and family relatives around you. they might spend around $1. will only reinforce cultur. North-American life.” says Korzenny. time in Hispanic households. R.. 30% of Hispanic fam.” Meléndez. and part of the reason is because it’s so much cheaper. And food is the premier American moms find it hard to keep And. for them to buy enough cans would cost upward of $10. In Latin Traditionally. for quite some time.” But as the Hispanic-American mid- dle class grows. it promises to shunt Variations on Hispanic sandwiches. and still is in some situations.’” says quality of fresh produce as the No. Latinos cite the that treats grocery shopping as a bona sit down to dinner together.D. cofounder and consultant. and they may get frozen and prepared foods.

“We want to see a product outside the lab — in its cultural context. the canisters of dough and make these Meléndez-Klinger would approve. And so the women —Nancy C. Piñatas form a colorful swaying ceiling. the affluent and acculturated by mak. flags.rodriguez@fmssinc. passion. sensory and culinary divisions on a Hispanic Trend Trek™. Givaudan began these treks several years ago to go beyond learning from for a quick-cook meal. observes this scene.” “sensual. flowered pants. Remember the pink coconut snowball cake in the supermarket? ■ that’s the first thing they noticed. that sensory appeal. she theorizes. even though it didn’t require it. but because they er Enderle observed would probably add both milk and eggs to the pancake don’t know what they are or how to mix. Minneapolis.com) necessarily have to go to the panadería . bits of rice to horchata-flavored ice cream. while ing helps.” She also tells the group that it is common for families to be together Chevy Nova — no va means “doesn’t — on a trip to the store or in the kitchen. Rodriguez learned that they didn’t have to make President. have coffee and see how to open experienced. the ers could broaden their markets beyond importance of homemade/traditional foods. a signif. that the moth- they don’t like them. says. He added oven and took it into Hispanic neigh.. She calls excitedly to the two children noticed “a lot more frozen complete who run ahead of her as she reaches for a box of pancake mix. authentic and mainstream. brand loyalty. can and Puerto Rican markets she sur. monies. Joe returned from the sumers. was a consumed by Hispanics not because guide and interpreter on the trek. and they didn’t (nancy.. allying them with mainstream citrus? cinnamon? chiles? Enderle is one of 17 participants from the company’s consumers willing to pay a premium marketing.” She smells deeply: Sweet floral? herbal? affluent. pointing borhoods. emotion and pride. She selects a Cuban meals” in its freezer cases than gallon of whole milk and lets the children choose a package of pink coconut there were equivalent products in Mexi. measure about emerging trends. around the table.” she says. market research manager for Cincinnati-based Givaudan veyed. While visiting groceries heeled sandals pushes the shopping cart at a supermarket in Pilsen. The sensory words on index cards. a Chicago-based Hispanic food consultant. Selesnick recalls that when authentic influence in mainline products appeals broadly to consumers — Pillsbury. books and the Internet. In Puerto-Rican and Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago and the Cuban community in Miami. likely to pull a frozen meal from the IL. Bilingual packag. She jots sensory notes on index cards: “Loud. He also made it pink strawberry. respect for history.” to another. to uncover what traditional market research does not ly half a century in the U. a Mexican in Miami’s Little Havana. And with near. energy and action. Ads targeted to go” in Spanish — reminds us that Hispanics feature families — and the women are glamorous. and thus almost four times as Givaudan contracted with Food Marketing Support Services. born. even those who are not so shapely are wicket in the translation of one language proud of their femininity and like to show off their bodies. band.S.” “mother and kids. nostalgia for the homeland. but that’s not the whole product. group discovered themes: family values. She explained. and brassy music with a vibrating bass pulses through the aisles.S. had trouble Hispanic and non-Hispanic. a popular rice-based Mexican drink. “Many convenience products aren’t Sylvia Meléndez-Klinger.” Enderle Perhaps a safer tactic is simple out. and music become part of an on-site ideation at the end of the venture. tos. Cultural mining is an essential part of product development at Givaudan.” he says. generating interest in its refrigerated Asked for an example. A woman in form-fitting.. Inc. flavors. for instance. Enderle points to her hus- dough products among Hispanic con. although the lesson of the also explaining that “Hispanic mothers believe that whole milk is more nutri- tious. “A mother always wants to add something use them. more — to the pizza or canned soup — as a sign of her love. “In real life.” The reach. Leigh Enderle. love of music. or texture. Oak Park. Joe. the role of community and cere- Korzenny believes that manufactur. along with pho- ing small investments in education. Food Marketing Support Services. snowball cakes. Inc. “We don’t like fresh breads that smell wonderful — plain!” she says. They invited women to come to its ethnic origins and giving it a texture like he’d in.” because Cubans are generally more “bright. according and soul” of major Hispanic groups in the United States. R&D. foods. Enderle neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. to design a sensory-based program that would expose the “cultural heart freezer as are recent arrivals. their bread from scratch. that’s Flavors. Chicago. like popular semantics can be a dangerously sticky Hispanic soap opera stars. the to Mintel International Group. and to inspire new directions in tastes and icant number of Hispanics are U. gauzy fuchsia blouse and high- nience foods.more of its dollars toward conve. a senior flavorist. it “rolled out a truck with an Hispanic Trend Trek with a vision for marketing hor- chata. Perhaps. “We can talk about flavor.

it offers con- sumers a middle ground between scooping refried beans from a can and boiling. says. and eco. but they’re not mixes. However. she says. Now corn processors take take away from the cook’s glory. foods in Latin America that you find Mintel found that even Spanish. and they’d be more als. bring the water to a boil. beans work very well” in boxed-mix it off the heat. nities. ucts give the illusion of scratch prep. pintos. slen- that. whether it’s a region. “long-grain rice Yager mentions his company’s line No one would argue that refriger. and it’s done. you stir it. ADM.” Manufac. which. tends to be most commonly used. sales of ucts. utes. Rico. neys.” Added to a soup pride for a Latina to cook from scratch. Kraushaar says. “There are other heir. loom beans out there.” Product developers should uct. temperature and pressure.” How quickly? “You ments of freshness and hands-on par. IL. Spanish-dominant consumers will buy baking Ever faithful mixes and prepared dough because the Even in their home countries. “there is a high applications. “And when you use these multinational scope has given Latin- rice-and-bean dishes present product beans. so they absorb a lot of pare and serve. are culturally consistent with nutrients. head north. soaking ripe grains in quicklime to ease grinding and release We’ve found that you don’t want to he says. Yager. had their pick of ready-to-eat meals and convenient ingredients. producing instant masa harina touch to the dish. al or family influence. Brian water quickly. you take toward scratch preparation.” he says. “and you’re also dominant consumers — presumably a sive and they’re just not within the going to find a lot more UHT prod- more traditional bunch than English tradition. however. like black beans and pintos. For recognize them. Kraushaar says. if not the finished tortillas. the food industry’s So baking mixes and quick-cooking nomical. Much has been made of Hispanic finished-product attributes and pro. McCaskill suggests going apt to try the product. that’s what they’ll look closest to meeting both the necessary ration requirements. Remem. Medi. and refrying them for themselves. “They aren’t convenience foods. appear in U. he continues. ture preclude the distribution of fresh.” age home cook in Hispanic commu. The what you’d find across Latin-Ameri. cessing and handling requirements minutes. dark reds and even light reds. And make with a long-grain parboiled rice as an turers can customize ingredients to fit no mistake: When Latin Americans ingredient because it “probably comes the product’s processing and prepa. Black beans. ated. ing. suspects. although long-grain is substi. Gone are the days when Mexicans nixtamalized their own corn.” he adds. is second only . offered as authentic. easy to source. “we can matter of months.” particularly where unreliable speakers — will buy baking mixes find this encouraging. “You’re going to find the same canned ingredients. incorporate the ele. let it sit for five min- ber. because they’re more expen. mix or taco meal kit. baked goods and beverages as the latter. “dehydrated whole bean product to it. Latin Americans have long products give the illusion of scratch prep. ready-to-bake rolls and biscuits um. the rice in the dried mix cooks in five Americans’ legendary brand loyalty.every day to get it fresh.” says Bavone. corporate research chef. too. look almost like broken pieces of they’re in a special class of products tuted in some recipes purportedly spaghetti. are plentiful. “if for.” With the exception of Puerto give you a five-minute cooked bean. while considerably easier to pre. breakfast cere- out to the Hispanic home cook. “the mainstream American consumers as many name- development opportunities that reach American public would be able to brand packaged sweets.” using a combination of time.” der and porous. mashing. because usual refrigeration and inadequate infrastruc- and prepared dough because the prod. using her own really that much of a draw for the aver. For example.S. On the bean ingredient front. you add the ticipation that compel Hispanic cooks Decatur.” Within a and constraints in most prepared prod. Rico. “They’re long.” the products doubled.or short-grain is popular in Puerto which come in a “ribbons” form. kid. supermarkets. What’s more. of instant refried pinto and black beans. care of the alkali treatment and grind- cook must be able to add her special can cuisines. here.

Kraft Food goods and snack manufacturers in now searches for labels that I remem. complicated. why they crack when you try to roll SKUs acknowledge those distinctions.” Most U. Noltenius. Korzenny says. international sales region here. J. grants reach for American brands in them. regional Mexican favorites. So if they had their desire to belong. Indeed. H. Memphis. Hispanics. he wagers Sunny Delight. Manufacturers can mine authentic cuisines for undeveloped gems. vice president of creative services. who looks for something “a little coarser. buy a Sara Lee cake mix. either.S. many Hispanics “object to the tortillas they can buy on the shelves here. let alone how Latin-American palates. and strong in a flavor called cal that is distinctive to authentic tortillas and comes from the lime used to treat the corn. it’ll be chile-limón. And as for nacho cheese-flavored a weakness for Nesquik in Colombia. Atlanta. highly assimi. a sense of status accrues to has little cultural basis for determin. a liberal Brand appeal isn’t just about taste product developer weaned on Ameri. tortilla manu. Kraushaar ety that yields a brittle tortilla. pany. Toro says.” The company’s 1. Inc. Food Marketing Support Services.” explains Karen K. MI.S. 30-plus years ago.. And that texture is precisely what addressing not only general Latin- . he says. Gamesa and ber seeing as a child in Brazil but would audience lies north of the border. according to Federico they’ll bring that craving with them back to brands that they had as chil. product applications that “speak” to Hispanic shoppers who purchase North. including Carnation. brands are peren. As Korzenny canized versions of Tex-Mex favorites the ingredients. is that while “recent immi. even in product development. with a lot of color variability from light to some dark spots. ing what that image is. their main Mexico. he explains. can’t assume that Latinos will buy a bean purée. sensory profiles and says.” Thus.200 points out.” But a der.” up flavor in Latin America. brand just because it is Latino. Even so.” A typical tortilla chip might also seem off-key to a Latin-American con- sumer. In addition to homegrown baked dren in their homeland. he believes “it’s key to marketing to ing an American cake. communicate a specific image. If a Sabritas. lated — i. TN.e. IL. notes. water- Northfield. period. Inc. Heinz Company. desir- Battle Creek. It has able sediment in beverages. I’m one who manager for Latin America. not Cheddar. and Kraft Foods. not touch when I arrived in this country snack chip is going to sport a jazzed- nial favorites. Products from The Coca-Cola Com. heavy corn Photo: Danisco USA.” The flipside facturers. and it has to melon candies laced with chile pow- popular. Trumbull. use of lard … These are just some of or convenience. tangy drinkable yogurts. PA. Taking such elements into account and middle classes in Latin America For example. many U. The distinctions of such aspirational buying. Ingredients. they may an ingredient as basic as corn is “very has been key to Goya’s success. Hispanics don’t like. choose it more for the prestige of mak. harder. such as Bimbo. Jell-O and Quaker Oats. have gained favor as Hispanic cuisine has hit the United States. The Kellogg Company. American products. Tacos camarónes (shrimp) and pescados (fish). use a hybrid vari. to African Americans. secure — Hispanics go corn chips. IL. are also continually to be seen as authentic. Oak Park.. “That’s are substantial. “So when the upper to make it authentic. avocado ice cream. Viva la diferencia The differences don’t stop there. Kraushaar cautions: “You Mashed plantains stuffed with sweet Pittsburgh. not really salty.

see what the tastes are.” These themes. of the sensory stimuli: the music. — as well as within the mainstream before they even start thinking about or just men? What does it smell like? market — in order to make the effort what anyone’s eating.” says Trumbull. are “the mean- ingful threads that weave the com- munities together rather than separate them: vibrant color. Trumbull calls And we capture those impressions on financially feasible. Services lead industry professionals beans. For the first few ioned with intense customer loyalty. observations down the road. in Miami’s Little food companies. as well as the presentation.” Turning a feeling into food After spending a few days immersed in the culture. the sounds.” says Selesnick. they’re just going Havana. In suit of the local color. “The more mainstream the prod. participants have so inter- nalized such signals that “they’re on- track to translate them to food. this holistic approach to tapping sen. the music. areas to visit their markets. taking in all spend their marketing and research are going to travel. the dollars on making a niche product. Trumbull says. identification of traditions.” do design with enough appreciation ing. ket to Hispanics at all. who has par- Photo: Kraft Food Ingredients Product designers can create myriad vari- ations on the popular wrapped-tortilla dish. cards or sticky notes that we carry But that doesn’t excuse product sory trends “cultural mining. And sometimes. . days. Most restaurants. It’s about says Enderle. “It’s strictly an observation and an Goya. we had better approach what we nation yet for what you’re experienc- likes to say. in fact. the family influence. And that’s the next step. and Central Mexicans their Hispanic cultures. Not every manufacturer can be And that means going local. look at who’s a broad appeal across the subgroups community’s sights. “we look for what flows from that experience that we can merge into common themes.” she says. stand the subtleties of the various through ethnic neighborhoods in pur- dongo stew.” with the people.” Toro cans. the smells. the beat.” So. smells and sounds making the cigars: Is it men and women.” “They’re going to go into some of these colors. eat at local going on location and just being there prises millions of consumers. though. can draw interest from Hispanic subgroups. Authentic spice blends and ingredi- ent choices.” and she with us throughout the trek. You’re look- nies out there who are not going to oping new products for this market ing at the communities.” Meléndez-Klinger. but regional developers from doing their home. even if that niche com. leagues at Food Marketing Support their beloved volteado-style refried uct. “There are big compa. “Comp. soaking up a we look at the colors. “if we go to a cigar factory. she says. middle-aged Mexi. “We market as Hispanics. as well. if they want to mar. nonfood observations during cultural products occupy a niche. “you don’t offer any expla- “We don’t market to Hispanics. it’s cush. the more important it is to under. And although Goya entire product line to second-genera. upwardly mobile. tics or how you might apply these Going local ognize the universals. practices it when she and her col- ones. or any food-related characteris- for their regional differences to rec. Dominicans their beef-tripe mon. anies that are really serious about devel. if we can’t dedicate an Trumbull specifically encourages and ready to go.” By this time in the process. have to achieve to play sensory tourist. huitlacoche corn fungus — all canned other words. offering Guatemalans work. American preferences. tion Puerto Ricans and another one to mining expeditions.

unrefined cane sugar solid- • Mojito Chicago ice cream vendor’s cart. or a beverage?” This is says Enderle. might not be ready for muskier. in potato chips. is atole. erence curves that show a prominent tions with Food Marketing Support spike around the chile-limón profile. But it’s in corn chips. Another popular sweetener. you’re the caramel candies and the dulce de Hispanic Ice Cream Flavor Trends going to hit some of the high notes. ticipated in cultural mining expedi. So is a near-universal driver for Latin Amer- you’ve got the colors and you’ve got icans. the goat’s milk a lemon or lime tang. sweet coffee backed onto more familiar carriers didn’t develop with the strength it has • Guanábana • Guava and cheese like strawberry and vanilla. they learn that His. bridging the gap from savory the fun. “You’ll have mainstream world. the I think of those cajetas. It’s more • Cream cheese and guava • Honey café horchata (tobacco) participants dig up on a cultural min. drunk warm and Source: Givaudan Flavors. the simplicity sumers. based drink. caramels that I remember were always Hispanic consumers also seem to Cincinnati. citrus portion of the equation. Break- • Strawberry sangria combining sweet. U. creative minds at Givaudan Flavors. The whole category of beverages is • Strawberry horchata panic consumers don’t shy away from also wide-open for exploration. in fact. “It’s a really big flavor there. sodas. That way. “They definitely love sugar. whose neutral flavor base balances ty recognizes. and hot peppers. This is some. and you’re goat milk they’re made with. It’s got to be colorful. and it’s got the candy the sharper spicy-citrus top notes.” sometimes flavored with chocolate (in Noltenius agrees. got to work translating in a piñata in Mexico. • Honey and tobacco Popsicles and yogurt.” • Key lime mojito ing trek? For one. the ingredi. Meléndez- • Tropical sugar cane • Vanilla Jamaica (hibiscus flower) one stimulating package. where colas. Here are a put that cajeta into a pancake. salt.S. giving them a complex- • Strawberry at the color. Like most • Papaya ice cream parlor on the corner of Main unrefined sweeteners. The inside that they know. slightly spicy sweetness that • Sangria something like avocado à la mode. but you’ll notice notes of the • Chocolate silk with sour-orange • Cinnamon and chocolate sugar cane the drivers. Cincinnati ple with lime. is • Lime • Mango swoon over the helados she tried at a piloncillo.” Klinger says. Services. ity that Bavone says is a trademark of • Sugar cane juice (guarapo) • Sweet plantain ents. Trumbull says: “You look applications. cream flavor. fruit the sights. It You see it in snacks. sounds and all-around think of home and the flavors of home. complexity on many levels. it’s in a shape the communi. You’ll • Cinnamon papaya cobbler still going to have broad appeal. How can you gravitate toward sweetness. at least • Horchata But while a product developer might in Mexico and Central America. piggy. You’ve got to transfer that fun — Kraft has introduced lime notes to to the food. say nothing of artificial sweeteners — • Dark. thing that brings back memories.. “Mexicans eat pineap. Cuba. brown cones. doesn’t need to be very fancy. and it’s how tropical fruits.A. which case it’s called champurrado). the ified into hard. snuck into in the United States. and you morph that into your Latin-American sweets. In complements rich.” have candies that are made with chile • Coconut Champagne cola So what are some of the gems that pepper — sweet and hot. And she does mean sugar: how dulce de leche worked its way With cane sugar a traditional com- Hispanic Savory Flavor Trends • Chocolate with cinnamon into everything from coffee beverages modity in places like Puerto Rico and • Citrus to lollipops. caramel-inflected • Sour-orange that case. • Pineapple • Mamey Street. of it — it’s paper and cardboard. spice and salt in fast for many Mexicans. a thick masa- Korzenny says. He’s seen flavor pref. an ice big way. the familiar feel. the texture. and other beverages often carry savor of Hispanic neighborhoods on their Latino Trend Treks™.” few of their impressions and ideas. it has a deeper. It’s a line of mayonesas for the Hispanic Having immersed themselves in got to be something that makes them market — to sweet. “Just think. the taste for corn syrup — to • Coconut like tamarind and guanábana.” he says — products vibrant. . puts it this way: “Think of particularly among Mexican con- the colors of a piñata. leche. and in a some of the sensations they carried home into flavor trends.

to mind that they tasted very little like these products more in the direction pers. You’ve got to think in those terms. are it up to economics and nostalgia. and nobody seemed have a core competency. and Hispanic. No technical writer. while ural flavors are very expensive. vor and texture of the fruit. Supermarket is a desirable sensory characteristic vors of home. “They’re more convenient soda. up drinking an artificial strawberry Kimberly J. cinnamon. It’s just easier than taking the man. with the products in which they already Fruit smoothies and shakes attract ages to yogurts. Hispanic or otherwise.fruits and nuts. A final a preference — for artificial flavors cream and packaged snacks. a California-based ilar effect.” vors in the first place. and angle both mainstream and Hispanic shop. snacks tion to writing about it. but manufacturers can use the finished product. fruit and dairy shakes. she panic market share might be to stick smoothness. And tex. fresh fruit with sugar. Latin-American stores shelf life — aseptic products. they’d be absolutely right. But few con- ingredients and processing methods Another theme that Enderle noticed sumers.. Lawrenceville. “They love the colors. When Meléndez-Klinger thinks of more popular with Mexicans. dealing with beverages in fantasy colors. ice broken grains could be used. facturer wants to grab the attention of here. vanilla or the seed. sometimes fortified with raw egg. you may prefer it to natural. ican manufacturers. these examples — sweet and fruity enjoys cooking and eating food in addi- gos and peeling them. sexy and full of the beverages at home by puréeing encapsulation or other processing pre. especially considering shelves carry refrigerated versions in that the Hispanics are used to. She or the pits. a Hispanic-American shopper.” Processing also extends the and chips with sweet-savory flavor piloncillo. And if you grew frozen and aseptic purées to get a sim. Licuados. “It’s ready to Product developers might look at lives in the San Francisco Bay area. If a manu- ate finding such products on shelves she says — while preserving the fla. vor. in nature. Chalk of the Latin-American palate. cost-prohibitive” for some Latin-Amer. and — and think: “We can do these. is crucial to a n’t have to offer a full line of “authen- erage made from soaked. the flavors themselves are expensive. Strawberry notes. So a man- wet-milling step might then be applied that would be very difficult to mistake ufacturer’s better bet for capturing His- to further reduce particle size for added for the real thing. Rodriguez adds. frozen products approximately three.” And American consumers might appreci. last about a year. she things of grape-. candies. and see the juices made with clarified ingre. cinnamon-spiced bev. they love the fla- ty. strawberries fresh from the field. Reprinted from the September 2004 issue of Food Product Design . the University of California–Davis. make their own sodas.” says. regulatory affairs and quali. iTi tropicals. inc. when combinations.S. ture. Eva Rodriguez. rich and gooey candies already sell atole mixes. it does- chata. says that Latin Americans prepare but because they may require overages. “Nat. graced everything from bever. Mexicans also love their hor. stored properly.” she Puerto Rico. rice flour or was an overall acceptance — indeed. a cool. has a B. flavor and color. NJ. can in commercial products. water cautions to maintain their integrity in attracted to that?” ■ or milk. Who wouldn’t be the raw. “Pulp tic” frozen dinners bearing all the fla- rice grains and almonds.” she says. “and to make a product with a strawberry. Latin Foods are fun. they director. a better source of those authentic fla- McCaskill says that “with regard to dients that are free of pulp. pulverized fruit beverage’s Hispanic appeal. not only because love the sweetness. straight fruit concoctions — called says. in Consumer than the raw fruit because a purée is wonder Tang orange-flavored drink Food Science with a minor in English from basically a raw fruit without the skin mix is such a hit in Latin America. Decker. and go. unlike that the average Hispanic-American flavors ranging from vanilla and banana in the American markets where you consumer might deem the home kitchen to strawberry and chocolate.and orange-flavored sodas batidos in Cuba — seem to get more natural flavor is probably going to be in wildly vivid colors that don’t occur traction elsewhere.