According to U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Hispanic population will grow by 33% from 2007 to 2017, fueled not by immigration, but by the rise in births. It’s the nation’s largest single ethnic group with a 2012 buying power exceeding $1.2 trillion which includes substantial spending on snack food items. 

Of the 53 million Hispanics residing in the U.S., 59% say they speak Spanish all the time while 33% report speaking Spanish half the time. In households where Spanish is the dominant language, there is less likely consumption of salty snacks such as potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips, popcorn and cheese snacks. In these households, health awareness and concerns result in a strong desire for low fat, low cholesterol, low salt and low sugar snacks.

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In Hispanic households where English is primarily spoken, those factors are less important. Where Spanish is the dominant language, 79% say they want low fat snack foods; declining to 39% where English is the dominant language. Where Spanish speaking is dominant, 78% want low cholesterol levels versus Englishspeaking Hispanic households reporting 41%. The findings are similar in low sugar snack food consumption. In households where Spanish speaking is dominant, 75% define low sugar as important compared to 39% in households where English speaking is dominant. 

A sharp rise in salty snack consumption is observed when English is the dominant language. Classic Hispanic tortilla chips are consumed in 49% of Hispanic households where Spanish speaking is dominant compared to 57% in English speaking Hispanic households. The percentage rises among Hispanic men between 18 and 24 residing in households where Spanish speaking is dominant attributed to their potential single status and likelihood of eating meals at home.

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Potato chip consumption follows a similar pattern where 66% of households where Spanish is the dominant language consume potato chips whereas in households where English speaking is dominant, it rises to 69 percent. It’s interesting that of all ethnic groups tested, Spanish dominant households have the least interest in meat jerky and baked potato chip products.

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