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The Influence of the Multicultural Consumer on U.S. Grocery

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By the year 2060, the U.S. population is expected to grow to more than 447 million people. Analysts project that the nation’s population growth will attribute to new international immigration and the anticipated multigenerational change of these families over the next four decades. Asian-Americans, followed closely by Hispanics, are noted as the fastest population growth among all racial and ethnic groups. And the U.S. Latino population is expected to double in size by 2060 to 119 million.

With non-Hispanic white populations in decline, the focus will be placed on young multi-ethnic “Super Consumers” with buying power. Representing the top 10% of multicultural households who drive at least 30% of sales, 40% of growth and 50% of profits, this new type of consumer composed of Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Hispanics, will be the holy grail of future retail strategies.

The Sphere of Influence

According to Acosta Strategic Advisors, multicultural American consumers will have a hand in influencing and reshaping the U.S. grocery industry. These discerning consumers are more likely to seek brands that socially align with their self-image and aspirations. Brands that incorporate natural and organic products and promote healthier lifestyles and eating habits are high on that list.

They enjoy grocery shopping, especially if food products are culturally aligned: 49% of U.S. Hispanic and 46% of Asian-American shoppers are more likely to buy brands authentic to their ethnic heritage. As a result, Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American shoppers will drive consumer spending and impact the grocery sector to a tune of $3.9 trillion both in-store and online. Online grocery shopping among all shopper groups grew last year, with Hispanic (29%), African-American? (33%) and Asian (40%) shoppers expecting to spend even more online in the future.

The demand for ethnic-inspired products has driven the expansion of specialty supermarkets across the nation, no longer relegating products to a singular grocery aisle. Instead, mainstream grocery stores are expanding their offerings and, in some cases, hiring specialized buyers to ensure available products appeal to the multicultural consumer.

¡Hola Supermercado (And Others)

In our latest podcast, “Evolving Trends in the Hispanic Grocery Space,” guest James Rodriguez, Colliers’ Senior Vice President of Retail in Los Angeles, shares insight into the Hispanic grocery sector demographics and the leading brands in the space. Ethnic-based grocers like Cardenas MarketsNorthgate González MarketsSuperiorVallarta and El Super have grown in pace with the immigrant populations they serve. Rodriguez shares how the grocery store category has a distinct advantage to connect and build brand loyalty across multiple generations, especially with those Hispanic consumers who are U.S.-born. “There’s going to be an acceleration of assimilation, from the second, third, fourth generations of a family, where most of the Hispanic population (~70%) will be speaking English.”

The concept of multigenerational influence rings true for Asian and Indian grocers as well. 99 Ranch and H-Mart, long-standing cornerstones within diverse Asian-American communities, cater to young consumers who have cultivated a palate that blends Western and Asian flavors. Umamicart’s online grocery launched during the pandemic serves the NYC and Mid-Atlantic region with next-day delivery with its South Asian product offerings. Raja Foods, the parent company to Patel Brothers, the largest Indian-American supermarket chain in the U.S., boasts 57 locations in 19 states, primarily in New York and New Jersey.

Share your new recipe by exploring the cultural diversity found at the an ethnic grocery store near you. My favorite is Dal Makhani.