Hispanics being ignored by health food industry

Cesar Diaz speaks at Nutracon 2009The Hispanic community is largely being ignored by the health food and dietary supplement markets, according to a speaker at the recent Nutracon conference in Anaheim, CA. "This industry has missed the point," said Cesar Diaz, a family practitioner from Salt Lake City, UT. Numbering 45 million, Hispanics are the largest minority in this country but they are not being served by the health food industry. The buying power for this community is $750 billion, and most spend cash rather than credit cards, he says, which is good news for retailers because of lower overall costs per transaction.

Speaking as a family doctor and an immigrant from Ecuador, Diaz said, "Holistic medicine is the first line of care and prevention because it is a part of our culture and tradition." Still, he cautioned that the Hispanic community has "unique culture and traditions — one cannot translate everything into Spanish and expect it to work."

Though a majority of Hispanics are Mexican (65%), the other 35% are not. This means that in order to truly understand this community, one must get involved to learn more about exactly how to connect with these very loyal and motivated individuals. Diaz says that there are some simple and very affordable ways to reach the Hispanic community — television and radio advertising on Spanish-speaking stations is one-third to one-half the cost of English-speaking stations.

Other tips Diaz suggests are to partially label your product in Spanish and to introduce your business to Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the church and school communities. Once you reach them, they will be hugely loyal for a very long time, he says.

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