Hispanic Snacks Capture the U.S. Consumer

Do you feel like eating an authentic Hispanic snack when you go home after work? According to a study conducted by J.M. Smucker Co. and Technomic, Inc., you are part of the group of consumers who are looking more and more for Hispanic snacks, such as chilaquiles or tamales.

Almost half of consumers (46%) find regional Hispanic snacks appealing, according to a study carried out by these companies and 48% said they would like to see more of these offers on restaurant menus. Those who show more interest in Hispanic snacks are the millennial generation (63%) and Westerners (51%).

Something that contributes greatly to consumer interest in regional Hispanic snacks is the time of day they eat, the companies said in their report. Only 3 out of 10 said they would order regional Hispanic snacks in the morning, but interest increases gradually throughout the day, peaking at night.

57% of consumers would consider eating these refreshments during the afternoon, while 60% said the same thing at night. The number drops to 44% when consumers consider eating this food late at night.

In the survey conducted by the two companies about which snacks are the most desired by consumers, chilaquiles was first place with 60%, matched with the same percentage for tamales and regional tacos. The fourth place is for Mexican Tortas with 58%, followed by churros, 54%; Mexican sweet bread, 53%; Salvadoran pupusas, 52%; Venezuelan arepas, 50% and regional empanadas, 47 %.

Given the growing consumer interest in Hispanic snacks, the study concluded that it is essential for restaurant operators and food vendors to know what specific regional Hispanic snacks are attractive to customers and to add these products in their menus.

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The most attractive treats are those that already have the highest penetration in restaurants, appearing even among the Top 500 non-Hispanic snacks. For example, 30% of the best 500 operators in general have tacos on their menus; therefore, consumers are likely to find that tacos are a familiar and appealing format to try a regional Hispanic food, even if it contains unknown ingredients.

The study by J.M. Smucker Co. and Technomic, Inc., concludes that as consumers increasingly demand to know the influences behind the food they eat and demand more variety in Latin foods and flavors, regional Hispanic snacks will gain even more ground on restaurant menus.