A Recipe for Success: El Sur Latino

The Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) is a great organization that documents, studies, and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. To me, they use food and history as a pretext to understand and shed some light into the cultural changes in our country. They recently had their Summer Symposium in Charlotte exploring El Sur Latino and I was honored to be a speaker at the event.

Charlotte, North Carolina, is a dynamic city where the New South comes into focus. A New Southern identity. A global city filled with immigrants and international flavors.

During my presentation I discussed ways that Latino entrepreneurs take advantage of opportunities to connect to each other, to Charlotte, and to the South. I also shared a little bit of the future of multicultural marketing, and the ways that we are selling Southern and Latin identities. Below are some key takeaways from the presentation.

Key Stats
The U.S. Hispanic population is large and growing fast –expected to grow by 86% and will account for 57% of the growth in the U.S. population from 2015 to 2050. Yes, we are primarily concentrated in the “usual suspect” areas: California, Texas, New York and Florida. But many of us migrated to the South (mainly due to job opportunities) and are helping make cities like Charlotte one of the fastest growing Hispanic areas. This city was built on the backs of thousands of my Latino brothers and sisters due to the influx of construction jobs in the Queen City in the last 25 years.

We tend to be younger (hence more years as consumers) than non-Hispanics (20% of Hispanics are Millennials) and also have larger households (3.4 people per Hispanic home vs 2.4 people per non-Hispanic home).

Hispanics spent 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in the retail and CPG market in 2015 and that number is expected to increase to 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars by 2017. Hispanics over index in buying key food purchases, such as  purchasing food at home (+35%) and food away from home (+47%).

Wave and Say Hola
For a long time, the U.S. was viewed as a melting pot – a fusing of different cultures. Then, the U.S. became a salad bowl – lots of different cultures mixed together. But now, it is more like chicken broth –different cultures (and flavors) mingling together but you can still identify the chicken and the broth. Don’t believe me? One word: despacito

How do you connect with them? Say hi. Say hola. Wave to them.

  • Wave to them inside your store. Are you welcoming them with Spanish signage?
  • Wave to them with their products. Are you offering products that can pull on passion strings?
  • Wave to them with their brands and services. Are you offering brands and services that they are tailor to them?
  • Wave to them with their heroes. Are you incorporating imagery that resembles the Hispanic community or popular images among Hispanics ?
  • Wave to them with their news. Are you levering in-language media outlets as a third-party endorsement and trusted advisor?

The bottom line is this: Latinos are growing and will be consumers for many, many years. Latinos have money. And most importantly, Latinos would like to spend their money with you and your business.

Wave to us. Acknowledge us. Make us feel that we are somebody; that we matter. And we will be your customers for life.

Want to learn more? Here’s a round up of the Summer Symposium or read one of the following articles:

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