Food is emotional. This emotional connection couldn’t be more true than among semi-acculturated Latina Millennials aged 18-34.
To a greater degree than Latina Millennials who are highly acculturated or un-acculturated, the semi-acculturated female shopper is perfectly situated at the juncture where cultures cross. The increasing pull towards the mainstream and away from traditional upbringings creates tension that drives consumption and shopping behavior, providing opportunities for marketers.
The semi-acculturated Latina Millennial persona is called Rebecca Raíces. She is the “Heritage Homemaker” who is an emotion-based shopper. Her levels of comfort and immersion with broader American society sparks a strong desire to reconnect with her Hispanic roots. Food is the most meaningful access to that nostalgia.
Being the persona most likely to embrace the fusion of traditional and mainstream elements, Rebecca is in step with evolving tastes and marketable in the sense that she influences and is influenced by those tastes. She is appealing because she is apt to experiment. It may be Korean with a Mexican twist, Peruvian with a dash of Europe, or traditional Thanksgiving with turkey and all the trimmings, along with rice and beans, tamales, and flan.
According to the Hispanic Millennial Project, a proprietary research study into Millennial preferences, conducted jointly by Sensis andThink Now Research, an overwhelming 89% of Latina Millennials, feel that the brands their parents used influences current consumption. Likewise 66% of Latina Millennials from the same study say that heritage contributes to the beverage and food brands they buy.
There is a clear connection from food’s emotional nature to deep nostalgic currents to shopping behavior. Like the other personas in the Latina Millennial Grocery Shopper Model – from which Rebecca’s persona is drawn – she is the primary household shopper. Cooking largely involves the use of family recipes, which often call for shopping at stores that stock brands and ingredients familiar to her traditional recipes. She prepares food from scratch which serves as a means of sharing food from generation to generation. This similar sharing effect occurs from one culture to the next, as Latina Millennials tap into pasts, while simultaneously opening up her heritage to invite exposure, lessons, tips and tricks to those outside her culture. A timely cross-cultural phenomenonas Latin foods and flavors increasingly overtake the mainstream. This effect significantly reaches a wider array of Millennials that seemed disparate.
It is a false assumption that Latina Millennials become mainstream as they gravitate towards the mainstream. Instead, as Rebecca drifts from, or feels she is drifting from her roots, she is gripped by the impulse to reconnect with her culture. This drives consumption and purchases. There’s been much talk of repatriation among second and third generation Latin Millennials particularly, which corroborates this trend.
These cross-cultural tensions, tides, and trends yield ripe fields from which to cultivate lasting consumer relationships with Latina Millennials.
Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Aug. 5, 2016, in Engage:Millennials.