Hispanic Private Label on Rise, Say Experts at Expo Comida Latina

NEW YORK -- Although many research studies have documented that Hispanic consumers are more brand loyal than the general population, that doesn't mean that they cannot be lured by a well-planned store label program. That was the message of Ana Lilienfeld, senior director of strategy, and Albert Greenwood, business development manager, for Daymon Worldwide, a private label super-broker, during a session held yesterday here at the Expo Comida Latina trade show.

Lilienfeld and Greenwood outlined what they termed a "two-pronged" opportunity for retailers to grow their Hispanic private label programs.

"Although 58 percent of Hispanic customers say it is risky to buy an unfamiliar brand, there is no reason why a store brand cannot become a familiar brand," noted Greenwood, citing such names as Craftsman, Martha Stewart, and Gap -- all retailer-controlled labels that are well-known to millions of consumers.

Greenwood mentioned several retailers that, in his opinion, follow a strategy of creating authentic Hispanic products for Hispanic customers, including H.E.B. (which uses its own Hill County Fare and H.E.B. labels), Kroger (which created a new label called Buena Comida for Hispanic food items), and Stop & Shop (which created Mi Casa for authentic foods). Big-volume authentic foods include tortillas, beans, nopalitos, long rice, tomato clam juice, nectars, and menudo, he said.

Retailers also may develop mainstream private label Hispanic products for a crossover audience, Greenwood said. These include tacos, salsa, burritos, nachos, refried beans, chiles, taco shells, and assorted Hispanic entrees. As examples, he cited Supervalu's recently launched Carlita brand, which includes white bean salsas and taco dinner kits; Safeway's Safeway Select label on a variety of mainstream Hispanic dishes; and Trader Joe's line of healthy entrees and appetizers under the Trader Jose moniker.

Lilienfeld noted that more and more retailers are developing Hispanic private label programs.

Expo Comida Latina and the All Asia Food Expo were held together Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 12-13, at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.
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