Latino food purchases most influenced by family, emotional values

Sep 23, 2013

Latino food purchases most influenced by family, emotional values

Sep 23, 2013

Latino Food
While acculturation may have a significant impact on the diet of the millions of Hispanics in the country, data from The Multi-Cultural Latino Consumer study indicates the family experience is still what drives most of the Latino food purchases and choices.

According to the data, though the Latino population in the U.S. is diverse, there are significant commonalities when it comes to food; specifically, Latinos prefer fresh, locally-grown, whole ingredients for their traditional dishes.

Latino food purchases and eating healthy

The results from the new study show that Latinos want to make healthy food choices despite previous data suggesting there are a number of barriers standing in the way. Access to fresh produce and meat, cost and general knowledge regarding healthy choices have all previously been cited as hurdles Latinos face when it comes to eating healthy.

An earlier study in 2013 published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine looked at the effects of poverty on the Latino diet. The research sought to showcase how poverty generally led to a diet full of calorie-dense, low-cost processed food. Diets of this nature have been linked to a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, which disproportionately affect the Latino community.

What experts found, however, was that once educated on where and how to find whole and organic foods, Latinos—regardless of income—were more likely to make healthy choices. The findings were consistent even among Spanish-speaking Latinos, suggesting that it was mainly nutrition education which stood between Latinos and a healthier diet.

But while nutritionally-educated Latinos will make healthy food choices, the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to reaching Latinos about food choices is the family connection. Healthy eating is important, but only if it can be done in a way which still promotes the close relationship typical of the Latino family.

Other findings in The Multi-Cultural Latino Consumer study on Latino food purchases included:

  • Latinos are less likely than others to eat alone (38 percent to 47 percent).
  • 32 percent of Latinos believe having a family meal is important, compared to 22 percent of non-Latinos.
  • Latinos see dining out as a way of enjoying other ethnic cuisine.
  • Latinos are more likely to dine out compared to non-Latinos.
  • 82 percent of Latinos chose fresh foods over packaged foods.
  • 63 percent of Latinos consume organic foods.
  • 63 percent of Latinos eat meals influenced by their Latin country of origin.

Source: Published originally on as Latino food purchases most influenced by family, emotional values by Hope Gillette, August 5, 2013.