Natural Foods Merchandiser

Hispanics being ignored by health food industry

The Hispanic community is largely being ignored by the health food and dietary supplements markets, said two speakers during Thursday’s Nutracon session “Obesity among Hispanics; Epidemic Components, Medical Outcomes, Cultural Conflicts and Therapies.”

“This industry has missed the point,” said family practitioner Cesar Diaz from Salt Lake City. Hispanics are the largest minority in this country, at 45 million, but they are not being served by the health food industry, Diaz said. The buying power for this community is $750 billion, and most spend cash rather than use credit cards, he said, which is good news for retailers because of lower overall costs per transaction.

Diaz, an immigrant from Ecuador, pointed out that for Hispanics, “Holistic medicine is the first line of care and prevention because it is a part of our culture and tradition.” That said, Diaz warned that because the Hispanic community has “unique culture and traditions—one cannot translate everything into Spanish and expect it to work.”

Though the majority of Hispanics in America are Mexican (65 percent), the other 35 percent 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 said. He pointed out that there are some simple and very affordable ways to reach the Hispanic community—television and radio advertising on Spanish-speaking stations is two-thirds to half the price of ads on English-speaking stations.

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

Kimberly Lord Stewart
Editorial director
Functional Ingredients

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