Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S. and have a large affinity for pork in traditional recipes. However, their preferences for pork cuts are largely unmet by mainstream grocery stores.
To bring attention to Hispanics’ unique pork preferences, the National Pork Board recently published a report titled, Time to Tango: Latinos Are Pork’s Future. The report highlights Hispanics’ unique preferences related to types of pork cuts.
Pork is served as a center-of-the-plate option less often than non-Hispanic households, and more frequently as an ingredient. Therefore, cuts such as ribs are often purchased in smaller portions for traditional dishes such as stews.
Large cuts are popular for holidays, family celebrations, and other special occasions. For example, a common dish for events such as a quinceanera, a girl’s fifteenth birthday, is lechon asado, a whole suckling pig.
Smaller meals still rely on unique cuts of meat and seasonings, though. For example, Chuleta Kan Kan, a Puerto Rican skin-on pork chop that includes the belly and rib meat, is deep fried or grilled until crispy.. Many dishes include pork-stuffed turkey, so popular in Hispanic culture it is nicknamed “pavochon,” a name derived from “pavo” for turkey and “lechon” for pork. Smaller portions of ribs are often used for traditional stews.
When they cannot find what they are looking for, Hispanics typically go somewhere else, with 72% of Hispanics reporting they shop at multiple grocery stores. Therefore, outreach is essential in regards to common misperceptions.
Sometimes, those misperceptions are driven by the different cut nomenclatures used in their country of origin.
However, there are also larger cultural differences towards cuts of pork commonly found in mainstream grocery stores. The Pork Board gives advice on winning Hispanic grocery shoppers over to pork cuts commonly found in mainstream grocery stores.
Jose de Jesus, director of multicultural communications with the Pork Board, says the organization’s marketing team is working with retailers, packers and Hispanic grocery shoppers.
“It’s critical for the pork industry, retailers included, to position pork as a nutritious option and communicate the nutritional value it has to offer,” de Jesus says.
To effectively engage the important Hispanic demographic and keep their affinity and use of pork high, both packers and retailers will need to start thinking differently – not only about the meat case, but the entire store as well.
“It is about having the right assortment, creating an experience that is familiar to them, and then just engaging with them so you can keep them coming back.”