05/14/2014 04:58 pm ET Updated Jun 23, 2014

Why Hispanics Are Expected To Change U.S. Food Culture

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Hispanics are one of the fastest growing minority groups in the United States, and according to new data from The NPD Group, over the next five years it will be Hispanics who have one of the strongest impacts on the food culture of the nation.

According to the research, Hispanics make up a large portion of the younger generation in the country, and survey data indicates that people under the age of 37 make up more than half of the entire population. This means that over the next five years, as more and more of the younger generation become parents, their “food beliefs” are what will be passed down to the next wave of young Americans.

And just what are those food beliefs? The NPD’s recently released The Future of Eating: Who’s Eating What in 2018? report indicates that Hispanics and the rest of the under-37 age group seem to want to be more involved with their meals. This doesn’t mean the food culture of the future will be complex; it means that future mainstream food habits will likely include from-scratch preparation rather than prepackaged box foods from the grocery store.

What’s more, an emphasis is expected to be placed on breakfast foods made to be fresher and requiring more prep or cooking time, like eggs, hot cereal, and center plate proteins. This area of food culture is expected to grow by 8 percent over the next five years alone. Similarly, Use of healthy additives in meals is expected to grow among those under the age of 37 by approximately 8 percent over the next five years.

“Generation Z, Millennials, and Hispanics will be the growth drivers of this country’s eating patterns over the next five years,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst, as reported by Perishable News. “This is a pivotal time for manufacturers and retailers to gain their favor as many of their habits are being formed now. Most are still at a life stage when their behaviors are flexible and they are receptive.”

Hispanics are expected to add their own unique twist to food culture over the next five years. Though the data indicates this ethnicity does show the same interest in from-scratch preparation and fresh ingredients as other young people, Hispanics are anticipated to continue cooking traditional Latin dishes. Experts feel this strong adherence to cultural ties will be seen not only in more Latin-style restaurant meals, but in more Latin-style dish options in local grocery stores–including in the frozen food section.

It is important to note that while Hispanics and the younger generation will impact the food culture over the next five years, the research did not draw any conclusions about if those changes will be healthy ones or not. Though from-scratch meals often are healthier than processed ones, Latin dishes, for example, even when made from scratch can be high in fats and calories.

Originally published on VOXXI as Hispanics among those expected to change the future of the U.S. food culture



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