On March 27th, Symrise hosted Sabor in America, pairing informative experts and delicious food to explore the growing Latino influence on the food industry. The seminar—hosted at the Astor Center in New York City—featured experts Barbie Casasus and Ramin Ganeshram from CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights, Latina Magazine's Marie Elena Martinez and Junior Merino, founder of The Liquid Chef, Inc, and provided valuable insights on both product development and marketing techniques that speaks to Latino consumers.
Did you know?
Thirty percent of the US population will be Latino by 2050.
Casasus and Ganeshram described the important social connection to food in Latino culture. "Children are front and center. All members of the family are focused on the happiness and health of the children. For mothers especially, food equals affection. They are one in the same. Cooking is part of a Latino woman's culture DNA," said Casasus.
“Food is central to the Latino home and lifestyle – it plays a key role as both a social and cultural connector. When it comes to shopping for food, Latinos are driven by the three E’s – Engagement, Expertise, and Experience.” –Barbie Casasus
While cooking is an important part of the family dynamic, Latino mothers—generally in charge of shopping and cooking— are also looking to establish healthy eating habits by leading by example. "Latinos value foods perceived as natural, unprocessed and fresh," noted Ganeshram. "You want your product to be a partner—be their enabler to help them get as close as possible to their cultural dishes."
“Latinos want food brands to think outside of the “rice and beans” box. Don’t always carve out a niche for Latinos within your category. Utilize Latino insights as the lead for total-market strategies." –Ramin Ganeshram
While freshness is important, Latino mothers are on the look out for short cuts that allow them to indulge in the flavors and essence of food. Casasus added, "Regardless of the changes in gender roles, the Latino mom looks for ways to compensate for convenience, yet still be involved in preparing and sharing food. Ingredients are important because ingredients define authenticity."
Did you know?
In 2015, Hispanic shoppers will control $1.5 trillion of the market.
Martinez, also an editor at The Latin Kitchen, continued the conversation, restating some of the same values and regards toward food. "Latinos are foodies by cultural, not by trend—the farm to table movement originated in Latin America where shoppers buy items primarily at local markets," she said. "Fresh and flavor are important."
“Look to the up and coming Latin regions for new flavors. Brazil, the Amazon, Peru, Cuba, Puerto Rico. Though Mexico is crucially important in the discussion, it’s no longer just about Mexico.” –Marie Elena Martinez
While she noted more mainstream flavors like chipotle, jalapeno, mango, hibiscus, habanero, and adobe, she challenged product developers to explore foods like Peruvian camu camu, yerba mate, acerola cherries and guava.
Did you know?
The top Hispanic cuisine ingredients include tomato, cilantro, beans, rice, pepper, cheese, chili, lime, onion, avocado, corn, chipotle, cabbage, garlic, orange and tomatillo.
Merino, that last to speak at the seminar, mentioned Latino flavors to be bold. "A product really has to speak to you—it has to be about passion." The Liquid Chef (and his crew) brought this last statement full circle, as they showcase a delicious buffet of Latino food and cocktails featuring several Symrise flavors.
“For Latinos, flavors need to be true, packaging should avoid stereotypes, and marketing should inspire loyalty, because word of mouth is valuable in Latin culture. Some of the trending Latin flavors we are seeing in alcoholic beverages include jalapeno, chocolate, chipotle, hibiscus, and horchata” –Junior Merino
The tasting menu and cocktail hour included:
• Shrimp, cachaca, apple, mint, mango, coconut, and passion fruit ceviche, featuring Symrise Grilled Mango
• Cold crab soup featuring Symrise Toasted Cumin and Coriander Seasoning
• Braised short rib with Symrise Mole Seasoning
• Peanut banana batida cocktail featuring Symrise Grilled Banana Flavor