Nothing speaks to Latino tradition like food. Recipes are passed from generation to generation. So when HuffPost Latino Voices heard that Cheerios was adding a personal favorite, dulce de leche, as a new product, we were eager for a taste.
Dulce de leche, which literally means "milk candy," is a thick milk-based sauce that is popular throughout Latin America.
We were curious to see the response to this new product from the all-American Cheerios brand. When we had some folks here at HuffPost try a taste test of the new dulce de leche-flavored cereal, reactions were mixed.
"As a long time lover of dulce de leche, who has a tepid (at best) relationship with cereal, I was pleasantly surprised with this. Both dry and with plain soy milk, these Cheerios were a pleasure to eat," said HuffPost BlackVoices blog editor and community manager Lucette Jefferson. "If provided these at the breakfast table, I'd be willing to toss my usual apathy for cereal to the wind and chow down."
Others, however, were not as inclined to add the new product to their daily breakfast diet.
"I'm not a fan," said Cindy Rodriguez, an associate editor at Latino Voices. "And, as a fan of dulce de leche, this offends me."
Others went further. "Yuck, that is not good," said Miguel Ferrer, Managing Editor at HuffPost Latino Voices when he tried the new product. "This does not taste like dulce de leche. No, thanks."
We couldn't help but wonder, why dulce de leche? Why a Latin American flavor in a quintessential American cereal?
In her Huff Post blog "'Jumping on the 'Latino bandwagon,'" Monique Frausto wrote about "the shift in the marketing and media world" to tap into the HIspanic market and how "major companies have decided to 'Latinoize' their brands." Frausto said that targeting the Latino consumer "is not only smart, but it's profitable."
Given the dramatic growth of the Latino population in the U.S. over the past 10 years, Frausto's claim seems accurate. The Hispanic population increased 43 percent between April 1, 2000 and April 1, 2010, making it the fastest-growing minority in the country, according to the 2010 census. Latinos currently account for more than 50 million people in the U.S., making them a highly attractive and lucrative niche market.
Many companies are taking notice. "Cosmopolitan Magazine" is answering the call with "Cosmopolitan Latina," which will launch in May 2012. The magazine will be a twice-a-year publication, aimed at American-born Latina women who are bilingual and bi-cultural.
"By speaking our bicultural language, Cosmo shows that it's in touch with the exploding Latino demographic. And who better to celebrate the indomitable Latina spirit than the Fun, Fearless, Female?" said Michelle Herrera Mulligan, the new editor for Cosmopolitan Latina, according to Hispanic PR Blog.
"Cosmopolitan will add content and advertising dedicated to Latin women in 750,000 copies of its regular issue. The Cosmopolitan Web site will have a separate tab for Latino-focused content and will offer Web-only articles written by Latina bloggers in addition to the content from Cosmopolitan Latina," according to the N.Y. Times.
The question of assimilation bears some thought here. An article in Huff Post Latino Voices reported that "for many immigrants arriving in the U.S., maintaining ties with their countries and cultures is becoming easier. Their countries, it seems, are coming straight to their doorstep."
Despite the mixed reaction to the Dulce de Leche Cheerios at the HuffPost, one thing is certain, the new cereal flavor is on point when in need of sugar fix. Dulce de Leche Cheerios will be on store shelves starting in January.
CHECK OUT OTHER PRODUCTS WITH A CARIBBEAN OR LATINO TWIST :
Low-fat cheese wedges made with real queso fresco and chipotle peppers. Flickr Photo by Rabidscottsman
Chile Limon Flavored Potato Chips.
The goodness of the Caribbean with pineapple sorbet and passion fruit swirls.
In 2007, Orbit launched this bubble-gum inspired by one of Cuba's favorite drinks, the mojito. Flickr photo by Maisnon
According to Häagen-Dazs, the flavor was inspired by Latin America's treasured dessert and is made up of a combination of caramel and sweet cream, swirled with ribbons of golden caramel. Flickr Photo by stepherinoo
Starburst "Sweet Fiesta," is described by its creator as an "exotic fruit punch with flavors such as Peach Guava, Strawberry Pineapple, Cherry Mango and Melon Berry." Flickr Photo by SugarPressure.com