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While Americans' love of snacking is notorious, new research from Mintel finds that Hispanics -- the fastest growing population in the U.S. -- differ significantly in their snacking habits. Indeed, results from a recent Mintel consumer survey reveals that Hispanic adults are twice as likely as non-Hispanics to reward their children's good behavior with salty snacks (41 percent versus 19 percent).
But 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 report eating three or more regularly (versus 80% of the general population).
Other key Mintel snack study findings:
- Hispanics emphasize mealtime, with snacks often perceived as appetite-spoilers. Mintel found Hispanics 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.
- Hispanic children show higher preference for healthy snacks like yogurt, cheese, raw veggies and nuts than non-Hispanic children.
"Manufacturers need to understand that Hispanic's eating habits are not the same as the general population's," said Leylha Ahuile, multicultural expert at Mintel. "Even among Hispanics, we see huge variety in snacking, eating and drinking tendencies."
Ahuile emphasizes the importance of not viewing 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."