New study on Latino food shopping habits in the U.S. finds that Hispanics do not like peanut butter, pretzels and pickles. Shutterstock/gkrphoto

Consumer research group Packaged Food has released a new study, titled "Hispanic Food Shoppers in the U.S.," concluding that Latinos are not a fan of pretzels, peanut butter and pickles. Additionally, ground beef and hamburgers are not high on the list of foods Latinos in the U.S. are fond of, as they generally prefer steak. Latino shoppers also prefer whole milk over low-fat variations.

“It’s become evident that Hispanic consumers are spending a significantly higher portion of their food budgets on packaged foods such as processed vegetables, as well as on frozen and canned meals,” says Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. “At the same time, Latino spending on fresh produce and meats has declined in an almost archetypal American fashion.”

The report also noted that within the Latino population, there is some variation as regional differences exist.

“Puerto Ricans have a long history on the U.S. mainland and are more likely than other Latino groups to reflect the habits of food shoppers as a whole,” writes Packaged Food in their press release. “Still other variations are more straightforwardly related to national and regional origins, including the obvious fact that packaged 'Mexican' foods and ingredients are most likely to be used by Latinos whose heritage is from Mexico or Central America.”

Acculturation also plays a role, according to the researchers. For example, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in the Greater New York City area would be more inclined to eating bagels than Latinos residing in other parts of the country.

Recently, data from The NPD Group found that one of the areas the U.S. will see the biggest change over the next five years, courtesy of the rising minority population, is its food culture.

“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, reports 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.”

In their report -- titled "The Future of Eating: Who’s Eating What in 2018?" -- the authors of the report reveal that the future generation will opt for "from-scratch preparation" over prepackaged box foods from the grocery store. What's more, the report finds that food culture will grow by 8 percent, the implementation of healthy additives in meals will grow by 8 percent, and there will be an emphasis on preparing fresh breakfast foods that require more prep and cooking time.

America's food culture adapting to the Hispanic/Latino community ultimately is a numbers game: With an increasing minority population, the purchasing power of Hispanics/Latinos rises as well. According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, the purchasing power of Hispanics in 2012 was $1.2 trillion (and is estimated to reach $1.5 trillion in 2015) and Hispanic households are more likely to spend a higher proportion of their money on food (groceries and restaurants) than their peers.

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