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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -- Note to grocers courting Hispanics: Try to gauge how long your target market's been absorbing American culture. As they acculturate, Hispanics living in the United States develop progressively more Americanized eating habits, a study by the NPD Group here found.
NPD said its study, "At the Table with Hispanic Families across America," showed that for Hispanics, acculturation brings with it an increased focus on quick, convenient meals and a lower likelihood of regularly preparing traditional Hispanic dishes.
"As we continue to learn about the impact of the Hispanic market in the U.S., we also recognize the influences of America's eating patterns on Hispanics," said NPD Group Ann Hanson in a statement. "The various levels of acculturation are a good indication of how Hispanics incorporate a more 'American' way of eating."
The study also found that eggs, tea, chips, potatoes, and frozen dinners/entrees/pot pies/sandwiches rise in popularly with Hispanics as they settle into their new culture; while leaf salads, fresh vegetables, fruit juice, milk, tortillas, and fresh fruit decline in popularity.
NPD noted as well that fewer acculturated Hispanics households cooked meals from scratch, although Hispanics as a group generally are more likely to do so than non-Hispanics. When it comes to cooking from scratch, the study made the following findings:
-- Among the least acculturated Hispanics, soup is the most popular dish made from scratch. The least acculturated Hispanics make homemade soup almost three times as often as non-Hispanics, but this rate drops off sharply with acculturation.
-- Hispanics are twice as likely to use spices/seasonings in dishes than non-Hispanics.
-- Spice/seasoning usage declines by half among the most acculturated group, as compared with least acculturated group.
-- Garlic is the most popular spice used by Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike, but Hispanics use it nearly three times more often.
Additionally, Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to eat eggs at lunch and dinner, as well as at breakfast. While least-acculturated Hispanics eat eggs at the same rate as the rest of the population, their consumption increases with acculturation. An interesting difference is that the least-acculturated Hispanics mix vegetables into their eggs, which isn't often done by non-Hispanics.
"At The Table with Hispanic Families Across America" is an analysis of information gathered in the course of a yearlong study, during which Hispanic households reported their meals and snacks both in and away from home. Both Spanish- and English-language- dominant Hispanics took part.
The NPD Group provides consumer and retail information for a broad range of industries, including apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, food and beverage, foodservice, footwear, home improvement, and housewares.