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What Does the Future Hold for Hispanic Grocery Stores?

2018 has been an eventful year for Hispanic grocery stores. We saw Bodega Latina expand to Texas with the acquisition of Fiesta Mart, Winn-Dixie’s Fresco Y Más concept grew in Florida, and Albertson’s El Rancho Supermercado officially entered the Houston market.

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Acquisitions and consolidations have been accelerating at a breakneck pace the past several years and they will continue to in 2019.

But what is driving this trend? And who are the top players? Understanding the underlying drivers of these acquisitions and consolidations in the Hispanic grocery store space can help us see what the future of Hispanic grocery holds for the future.

Top Hispanic Grocery Store Players In The U.S.

  • Northgate Markets
  • Fresco Y Mas
  • Superior Grocers
  • Sedano’s Supermarket
  • Compare Foods Supermarket
  • Vallarta Supermarkets
  • Amigo Supermarkets
  • Fiesta Mart
  • El Super Cuesta Menos
  • Sabor Tropical Supermarket
  • Supremo Supermarket
  • Bravo Supermarket
  • Cardenas Market

Quick Tour of Fiesta Mart Hispanic Grocery Store

Watch this video and see some the amazing food items you can find at a Hispanic grocery store

Is It Demographics?

We would naturally think what is driving this renewed activity in the Hispanic grocery space is being driven by demographic growth. However, Hispanic immigration has come to a halt, in fact, there has been net negative immigration into the U.S. the past several years.

Hispanic immigration in the 80s and 90s drove the proliferation of many of the first Hispanic grocery stores here in the U.S. So if Hispanic immigration isn’t driving it, what is?

U.S. Born Hispanics Seeking Connection

Much of the U.S. Hispanic growth in the U.S. is from native-born, second-generation Hispanics. While U.S. born Hispanics didn’t drive the first Hispanic grocery push in the U.S., second-generation Hispanic millennials have seen food as a key way to connect with their Hispanic heritage.

According to our Hispanic Millennial Project report, 73% of U.S. born Hispanic millennials choose food and beverages that connect them to their culture or heritage. Looking at an even younger generation, findings from our We Are Gen Z report point to a similar trend for Hispanic Gen Z in which 52% of Hispanic Gen Z are encouraged by family members to eat foods from their culture.

Total Market Seeking Authenticity

While U.S. born Hispanics may explain some of the renewed activity in Hispanic grocery stores, proportional to their size in the U.S. they cannot explain it all.

Another trend we see driving this activity are non-Hispanic consumers seeking authentic food experiences. Millennials and Gen Z generations are more open to seeking food outside their cultures than ever before.

For example, 46% of non-Hispanic white millennials have consumed a traditional Mexican hot sauce in the past three months.  Additionally, 49% of non-Hispanic white Gen Z state that they enjoy trying food from different cultures.

We’ve seen this search for authenticity also bear out in the slow decline of sales from traditional grocery stores, Hispanic grocery stores have experience converse results as of late.

Spanish, A Not-So-Secret Tool to Sell to Hispanics

Technology Aimed At Hispanic Grocery

With the resurgence of Hispanic Grocery stores has come businesses aimed at bringing Hispanic Grocery into the 21st century. Apps like Traiilo (prounounced like “traelo”) are building a mobile application for people to shop for Latin groceries. Traiilo allows you to order Latin products from local Hispanic supermarkets and have them delivered to your door.

In 2019 we are bound to see more technology companies aimed at making Hispanic Grocery shopping a more enjoyable experience.

Key Takeaways

Hispanic grocery stores should start to think about how to make the Hispanic grocery experience relevant to a Total Market in 2019.

As non-Hispanic audiences seek authentic food experiences, Hispanic Grocery stores are at the top of the list. Technology solutions can be a powerful tool to appeal to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences.

The key to growth will be to appeal to a wider audience while holding on to what has made Hispanic Grocery stores a success, authenticity.

About Mario X. Carrasco

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Mario X. Carrasco is Co-Founder and Principal of ThinkNow, an award-winning, technology driven cultural insights agency based in Burbank, CA. Carrasco is a regular contributor to trusted publications such as Forbes, eMarketer, Quirk’s Magazine, Online MR Magazine, and MediaPost. He is the SBA 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient, an SBA Emerging Leader Recipient, Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Institute Graduate, and USC Marshall School of Business Graduate. To learn more go to www.thinknowresearch.com

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