By Esther Franklin and Danielle Cherry, Starcom MediaVest Group

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Authentic Snacking: Bold and Real

For millennials, even a casual food like cheese can be elevated to a genuine experience, curated for uniqueness and quality. It has to be real. For Hispanic millennials, authentic snacking comes from more than just looking for the perfectly curated snack. Authenticity comes from natural ingredients and fresh flavor. In general, cultural experiences with food are more prevalent when a full meal is prepared. However, when it comes to craving authenticity in their casual meals, familial or cultural expertise can come into play such that they demand more from Latino inspired snacks compared to others, like South American flavors on menus, for example.

Authentically Healthy

The rise of organic, gluten free and superfoods laden ingredients are also driven by this generation. For U.S. Hispanic millennials, freshness also equals healthy, which may help explain the popularity of smoothies: 61% of Hispanics eat or drink yogurt and smoothies, more so than non-Hispanics. When U.S. Hispanics buy fruit juices, they perceive them as another way to supplement their fruit intake…so pitchers of refreshing ‘aguas frescas’ are not only authentic flavors from the culture, but also a way for Latino millennials to feel good about what they’re drinking.

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Diverse Snacking: Global Palates

As we move through our modern era, young adults and youth are bringing in new diverse flavors and palates back from their extensive travel, research or global experience. When exploring current and emerging flavor trends, inspiration is being found in more and more diverse global corners. U.S. Hispanic consumers are more likely to describe themselves as foodies. This community’s multiracial, multiethnic and multination families of origin contribute significantly to the level of flavor diversity that Latino millennials are comfortable with. Too often the palates of U.S. Hispanics get reduced to a generalization. However Latinos report interest in in several ethnic flavors, including European and Asian/African cuisines. The trending global flavor of Korean barbecue, or the myriads of sriracha-flavored crunchy snacks, are examples of global flavors that bicultural Hispanic millennials could be excited to try. U.S. Latinos millennials also show us that they too are a part of the movement toward artisanal tastes. They’re more likely to agree that higher quality snacks are worth paying more for.

Social Snacking: Nostalgia Strikes

Two major CPG brands recently brought back products that were long gone from the shelf that not only had special nostalgic appeal to younger consumers, but that were demanded back by those very consumers. Clearly, there is a desire to look back at simpler and fun memories for inspiration in old school flavors and products. Snacking choices often show a duality to flavor cravings when Latino millennials are having a nostalgic fix. Most of their snacking moments tend to reflect their ‘American-ness.’ Still, taquitos, guava with cream cheese on Malta crackers and Maria cookies are all snacks mentioned by U.S. Latinos that play a small part during the day to bridge a snacking moment with the flavors of their family’s country of origin. 

CLICK HERE to view Chicago Latino: Exploring Latino Culture in the Windy City

The intersection of a dynamic generation and the multicultural sensibilities provides a view into the vast opportunities the snacking category has to innovate with this consumer. Casual food is not only a source of fuel and enjoyment, but also more importantly a source of self-expression and identity. U.S. Latino millennials demonstrate how certain culturally lead behaviors and motivations can impact how a bicultural American will snack.

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