Millennials are calling for more flavors and ethical practices in their snacks, and that’s adding up to a huge bump in the creation and sale of Mexican snacks and snacks with Latin American influences.
In their smash hit podcast on race and culture called Another Round, Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton interviewed Latin pop artist Jaime Camil and Antonia Cereijido about the rise of Latin pride movements and the times in US history that Caribbean and Latin American music crossed over into pop music territory and enjoyed widespread play on American airwaves. By and large, every wave of immigration of Latin Americans into the US was followed by a crossover Latin hit. Starting with La Bomba and up as recently as Despacito, influxes of expats from Mexico and Central America bring with them music and food — and Americans love it.
Along with the nonstop play of Despacito and Mi Gente, today’s snackers have taken quite a liking to Mexican foods and spices and have demanded more of them. Tacos have always been a US staple, but Mexican street food is enjoying a bit of a boon at present.
For one thing, food market researchers have found that today’s consumers prefer to try foods when they’re presented as snacks rather than as meals. Americans have already exhibited a strong preference towards snack foods on a large scale, but for those who just want to try something, snacks sell better than large-portion meals for the curious snacker. This has to do both with price points and with the lack of intense commitment.
Moreover, millennials shell out for anything and everything authentic, and the experience of receiving Mexican food from a street vendor is worth its weight in gold. I’ve already discussed a number of times the importance of selling an experience to young buyers, and ethnic food is no exception. Young people are especially interested in the authenticity of the ingredients, ethics of how they were acquired, and tradition of the food’s preparation.
Young eaters are also looking for spicier foods, or at least food that feature stronger flavors. Already, McCormick has reported an almost 20% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2018, which it attributes at least in part to increased spice usage among chefs in restaurants and cooks at home. In 2015, restaurants increased their volume of hot sauce orders by double digits, and Siracha has yet to see a bad year in sales. Traditionally, Mexican cuisine tends to feature more spices and flavors in its dishes, from various chili peppers to bright citrus notes and more, making them the perfect burst of excitement for any snacker’s taste buds.
In this wave of Latin pride, Latin American foods are becoming some of the shining stars. Read Smucker’s research for more ways your snack food company can capitalize on the demand for ethnic cuisine.