(The Packer, www.thepacker.com)


Growth in the number of Hispanic consumers and an expansion in their earning power offers huge opportunity for the apple category.

That was a key point in a presentation by Sherry Frey, vice president of account services for Chicago-based Nielsen Perishables Groups, at the U.S. Apple Association Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference Aug. 21.

In a presentation called “How to win in a rapidly changing retail and consumer environment,” Frey reviewed the performance statistics of the apple category over the past year outlined possible paths to greater growth in the years ahead.

Reaching far beyond the U.S. Southwest, Hispanic population growth is growth is occurring throughout the country, Frey said. Sites in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida are showing the fastest percentage rates of Hispanic growth from 2000 to 2013. The Hispanic share of the overall population will swell to 30 percent by 2050, up from 16 percent in 2010, she said. Hispanic spending power will equal $1.5 trillion in 2015, up 50 percent from 2010.

With 5 percent growth in the number of shopping trips by Hispanic shoppers to traditional grocery stores, Frey said here is an opportunity to boost apple sales in Hispanic-themed stores, she said.

The Hispanic population is scaling upward in income and becoming better educated, she said. About two in three Hispanics are U.S. born, and 75 percent in those under age 35 are U.S. born, she said.

“That’s a game-changer in terms of how we approach them,” she said.

Frey said capturing the female Hispanic shopper should be the top priority, since she will bring the rest of the family with her.

Hispanic women purchase above average amounts of fresh produce, fresh meat and prepared food, Frey said, and are increasingly focused on eating healthy.

The apple industry also should aim to boost the fruit’s appeal to lower income consumers, she said.

Educating low income consumers, including food stamp recipients, on the health benefits of fresh apples is one possible approach, she said.


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