We know that Hispanic Millennials straddle two cultures – and that tendency plays out in their food preferences and habits. They love their chilaquiles and arroz con pollo, as well as their chili dogs and mac-and-cheese. They are also more likely to enjoy cooking and to use fresh ingredients than their non-Hispanic peers.
The following is our analysis of Simmons data on traditional foods and cooking habits among adult Hispanic Millennials (ages 18 to 29):
Traditional Hispanic/Spanish and American Foods
US-born Hispanic Millennials are not giving up the cuisines of their families’ countries of origin: they are enthusiastic consumers of traditional Latin and American food. Foreign-born Hispanic Millennials are more likely than US-born to buy more Spanish food products than American, however.
o More than 8 out of 10 adult Hispanic Millennials enjoy eating traditional Hispanic/Spanish food. Interestingly, the US-born segment is more likely to say they enjoy traditional Latin foods than foreign-born (85% USB, 77% FB). The 18-24 and 25-29 groups were almost equally likely to share this sentiment. Females were overall more likely than males to say they enjoy these foods (86% F18-29, 77% M18-29).
o A slightly smaller majority – 7 out of 10 – enjoy eating traditional American food. The US-born segment was higher than foreign-born in this area, too (78% USB, 61% FB). Likely because they skew US-born, 18-24s have more of a taste for American food than the 25-29s (81% P18-24, 73% P25-29). Foreign-born males were less likely than foreign-born females to agree with this statement (54% FB M18-29, 68% FB F18-29).
o Close to half (48%) buy more Hispanic/Spanish foods and products than American. This was higher among foreign-born (56%) than US-born (41%), and particularly high among foreign-born F25-29 (66%). Hispanic Millennials born in Mexico and those with a foreign-born mother are also more likely than other groups to be heavier consumers of Hispanic foods and products.
Cooking and Food Preparation
Compared with non-Hispanic Millennials, Hispanic Millennials like cooking more and have more of a tendency to use fresh ingredients. Non-Hispanics are more likely to eat prepared foods, and to perceive that they don’t have the time to make healthy meals. Foreign-born and US-born Hispanics enjoy cooking … though US-born Hispanics are developing more of a taste for ready-to-eat foods. Overall, Hispanics appear to be engaged, confident cooks who are not averse to complex recipes.
o Hispanics are slightly more likely than non-Hispanics to really enjoy cooking (50% vs. 47%). In particular, there is a big difference between Hispanics and non-Hispanic P18-24 (49% Hispanic, 43% non-Hispanic). US-born Hispanics are slightly more likely than foreign-born to enjoy cooking (51% USB, 48% FB).
o Compared with non-Hispanics, Hispanics are more likely to look for the freshest ingredients when they cook (50% Hispanic, 44% non-Hispanic). Among Hispanics, 25-29s are more likely to cook with fresh ingredients than 18-24s (56% P25-29, 46% P18-24). Foreign-born Hispanics are slightly higher than US-born in this area (51% FB, 49% USB). Those born in Mexico are particularly into fresh fare (57%).
o Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to look for organic or natural foods when shopping (27% Hispanic, 23% non-Hispanic). Again, Hispanics 25-29 are more likely than 18-24s to buy organic/natural (30% P25-29 vs. 25% P18-24). This is driven by the foreign-born segment (31% FB, 23% USB). US-born Hispanics’ rate of buying natural foods matches non-Hispanics’.
o Hispanics are far less likely than non-Hispanics to say simple, easy-to-prepare foods are their favorites (41% Hispanic, 52% non-Hispanic). Hispanics 18-24 are much more likely than 25-29s to prefer simpler foods (45% P18-24, 36% P25-29). US-born Hispanics are also much more likely than foreign-born to have this preference (48% USB, 32% FB).
o Overall, Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanics to eat prepared foods. Hispanics are much less likely to eat store-made, pre-cooked meals (20% Hispanic, 29% non-Hispanic). They’re also slightly less likely to say they often eat frozen dinners (22% Hispanic, 25% non-Hispanic.) In both cases, foreign-born Hispanics are significantly less likely than US-born to consume prepared meals.
o Hispanics are also less likely than non-Hispanics to say they don’t have time to prepare and eat healthy meals (26% Hispanic, 32% non-Hispanic). This was slightly higher among the US-born segment than foreign-born (27% USB, 25% FB). US-born M18-24 are most likely to say time factored into their ability to eat healthier (33%).
Source: Experian Simmons, Winter 2012 NHCS Adult Survey 12-month