Cultural Demand

by Pamela Accetta Smith
Processors respond to the burgeoning Hispanic dairy market.
The Hispanic population is making its presence known and influencing overall trends throughout the food and beverage marketplace. To the point, the evolution of this group represents a sea of change in the dairy industry.
Many processors are launching products specifically targeted to Hispanics, from exotic fruit-flavored yogurts to authentic Mexican cheeses. And it was only a matter of time — Hispanics are among the largest per capita consumers of dairy products, with California being the country’s leading producer and consumer of Hispanic-style cheeses.
According to Siboney USA, a New York-based advertising agency, 70 percent of all U.S. Hispanics reside in six states, thus making them easier to reach. Despite new growth in the Southeastern and Northwestern states, 31.1 percent of the U.S. Hispanics reside in California, 18.9 percent in Texas, 11.3 percent in New York and New Jersey, 7.6 percent in Florida, 4.3 percent in Illinois and 26.8 percent in other states. Projected to reach 56 million by 2010, the U.S. Hispanic population currently towers at 43.5 million (14.7 percent of total U.S. population), the largest single multicultural segment in the United States.
In terms of retail activity, Siboney reports, there is no single primary channel among Hispanics, unlike the general market, in which supermarkets play a leading role. Compared to the general market, convenience and mass outlets vie more closely with supermarkets particularly for household commodity items. Supermarkets generate the highest average per-occasion dollar spending among Hispanics.
In 2003, the growing Hispanic population in the United States spent $675 billion in the marketplace, according to recent statistics. That’s a projected growth rate of 12 percent annually — more evidence this demographic continues to influence food marketers. And processors are meeting the demand of this key audience with new product introductions and marketing campaigns.

Expanding its Reach
IDFA adds ethnic categories to annual competition.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) announced the winners of the 2004 Achieving Excellence Awards at its SmartMarketing conference in New Orleans, including entries in two new ethnic-based categories.
IDFA’s “Awards of Excellence” annually honor the dairy industry’s best marketing, public relations and advertising efforts.
This year’s competition, co-sponsored by Dairy Field magazine, featured more than 200 entries ranging from Web site design to new product packaging.
More than 60 submissions received awards in 16 categories. Entries with the highest score in each award category won “Best Overall” and represented the best work for that category.
Two new categories in ethnic marketing were added to this year’s competition. The “Ethnic Marketing Piece” category recognized achievement for one piece that was created for the Hispanic audience, and the “Ethnic Marketing Campaign” category recognized achievement for an entire campaign that reached out specifically to this audience.
A panel of judges consisting of advertising, promotional and editorial experts from the dairy foods industry chose this year’s winners.

Ethnic Marketing Piece
Best Overall: Tillamook County Creamery Association
To better reach a growing Hispanic consumer base, Tillamook introduced its “International Language of Mmm” television spot. Targeting bicultural Latinas — bilingual Hispanic women born in the United States but who still identify with their heritage — the ad celebrates the fact that everyone understands when something tastes good, regardless of
language or ethnic heritage. Since the spot began airing in Southern California last year, Tillamook sales there rose
11 percent, while brand awareness among Hispanics rose from 13 to 36 percent.

Ethnic Marketing Campaign
Best Overall: Meadow Gold Dairy Utah
The company enlisted the help of Miss Latina USA to demonstrate the best beauty secret is a healthy diet rich in the nine essential nutrients found in Meadow Gold milk. The campaign included public appearances at a company-sponsored festival, television guest spots, TV commercials and other ads. Meadow Gold was able to bring product awareness to both English- and Spanish-speaking consumers.

Marketing to Hispanics
Supporting the surge of new Hispanic dairy products are marketing campaigns that increasingly target Hispanic consumers — often developed with a cultural knowledge and communicated through Spanish language outlets. Marketing campaigns often are just as important as the products themselves when it comes to reaching out to the Hispanic population.
In order to speak and be heard, processors must communicate with its target market in their language through their preferred medium — whether that’s print advertising, television, coupons or in-store point-of-purchase displays. Answering the call, many companies have developed Spanish-language — or at least bilingual — packaging, advertising and promotional and educational materials.
A popular way in which processors are reaching Hispanic consumers is through television. According to a recent report by Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Hispanic TV is twice as effective and three times more efficient than general market TV at driving Hispanic sales.
The California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), established in 1993 to make milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California, has long examined consumption and cooking habits among Hispanic consumers. While the well-known “got milk?” campaign has been licensed nationally since 1995, a separate Spanish-language campaign has been running in California since 1994. The National Milk Mustache “got milk?” campaign is jointly funded by America’s milk processors and dairy farmers; The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) in Washington, D.C.; and Dairy Management Inc., Chicago. The goal of the multi-faceted campaign is to educate consumers on the benefits of milk and to raise milk consumption.
Historically, the CMPB has looked at ways to capitalize on both new and authentic uses for fluid milk. Last year, for example, the CMPB promoted licuados, a drink made from milk, ice and fresh fruit, to foodservice operators and market owners throughout the state of California, and published a guide to making and marketing different varieties of this authentic Hispanic beverage. Part of the Hispanic culture, licuados now have widespread popularity thanks to the organization.
The CMPB has also created Spanish-oriented advertising programs for nearly a decade and continues to use Spanish and bilingual communications. MilkPEP, which picked up California’s “got milk?” campaign several years ago, started Spanish-language ads in 2001. Currently, MilkPEP is sponsoring ads through Spanish-language print and television media in the country’s top markets, along with other communications tools. According to a new study, the ads earned the campaign unprecedented recognition among Hispanic consumers.
In addition to utilizing fine marketing strategies, manufacturers such as Rosa’s Original LLC, Cacique Inc., Tillamook County Creamery Association, Marquez Brothers International Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. all produce dairy products specifically targeted to the Hispanic population.
The Producers
Glenview, Ill.-based Rosa’s Original LLC is the first company to commercially market horchata, a traditional milk-based Hispanic beverage. Influenced by time-honored secret recipes containing rice, cinnamon and vanilla, Rosa’s Original Horchata targets the Latino market with tradition and convenience.
Available in select retail outlets in Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Kansas City, Mo.; Madison, Wis.; Milwaukee; and New York City, the shelf-stable, 15-ounce resealable glass bottles brought horchata to the supermarket for the first time. Described as a “fiesta in a bottle,” Rosa’s Original Horchata is the first single-serve beverage of its kind available in the United States. A natural antidote to the spices often found in Mexican and Asian cuisines, the beverage is available in traditional cinnamon, melon and strawberry flavors.
Cacique Inc., La Puente, Calif., is one of the nation’s largest Hispanic-style dairy products manufacturers. The company, founded by Gilbert and Jennie de Cardenas, offers a wide array of Hispanic-style dairy products coast to coast.Although the majority of Cacique’s consumers are Hispanic, the company has become more popular with other cultures due to growing enthusiasm for ethnic cooking. The company was founded when the de Cardenas family moved to the West Coast and discovered there were few high-quality, authentic Hispanic dairy products available.
Today, Cacique operates a 200,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility outside of Los Angeles. Although the company’s main focus is cheese, it also offers other dairy products such as cream and Hispanic-style drinkable yogurt.
Tillamook County Creamery Assoc­ia­tion, Tillamook, Ore., a 95-year old Oregon dairy cooperative owned and operated by nearly 145 dairy families, markets its cheese products to the Latino population. “In fact, our Monterey jack and pepper jack cheeses are particularly popular among Hispanics,” says Kathy Holstad, marketing director. “Monterey jack seems to be the most popular because it’s a cheese that works well in a lot of Latino dishes — it is known for its creamy texture and uniform melting. Also, we’ve done quite a bit of research and found that while the cheese used for cooking in many Latino dishes is fairly mild, our pepper jack is also quite popular because it already incorporates jalapeños, an ingredient often used in these dishes.”
In mid-2003, the company rolled out a new Latino advertising and public relations campaign in the Los Angeles area incorporating television, radio, outdoor (billboards, bus shelters and wild postings), print, Internet and grassroots efforts that focus on family and community — values that Tillamook and the Latino community appreciate, says Holstad. “We are continuing this successful campaign in Southern California and extending it to other markets this year as well,” she says.
With the Latino population steadily increasing in areas throughout the United States, Holstad believes the Hispanic-marketing trend will grow more and more strong in the industry. “We believe there is a big growth opportunity here — particularly with cheese — because traditional Hispanic meals tend to incorporate quite a bit of it,” she says. “And when our cheese is used in these recipes, it is very well received.”
Reportedly the largest Hispanic cheese manufacturer in the United States, Marquez Brothers International Inc., is a family-owned corporation with affiliates in the United States dedicated to the production and distribution of Mexican-style dairy products, meat items and canned goods. In addition to its own distribution network in the West and Midwest, Marquez Brothers has the support of major distributors in all regions of the United States, Canada and Europe.
The company began producing Mexican-style cheese in 1981 in a small plant in San Jose, Calif. Today, the company operates from a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of California’s prime dairyland. In December 1998, the company moved its international headquarters and San Francisco Bay distribution center to a new location in south San Jose. By early 2002, both Central and Southern California divisions had moved into new facilities.
The company’s El Mexicano brand has fast become a dairy market leader. In fact, the company says it takes pride in producing the most authentic dairy products in the category. Manufactured in the traditional way to maintain the appearance, flavor, texture and packaging of Mexico, the company’s most popular dairy products include El Mexicano Queso Fresco Casero — a soft white cheese easily crumbled by hand that’s mild, slightly salty, most popular among Hispanics, and is used for chile rellenos, enchiladas, tostadas or grated over Mexican foods; El Mexicano Crema Mexicana & Crema Fresca Casera — rich semi-sour and sweet creams, respectively, used as toppings on hot Mexican foods, fruit or desserts; El Mexicano Queso Cotija — a cheese made with whole milk and then aged that’s dry, salty and used as a condiment, grated over food or salads; and an authentic Mexican-style drinkable yogurt available in regular and nonfat strawberry, mango, guava, guanabana and piña colada flavors.
The El Mexicano brand is heavily advertised in Spanish language media. Similarly, Marquez Brothers introduced English language television advertising in 2000. The company has an entertainment division called Promociones Marquez that produces events featuring some of the top Latin talent in the world. This not only places the El Mexicano brand name in front of hundreds of thousands of consumers, the company says on its Web site, but it unites the community — Hispanics and all others who enjoy the cuisine, music and culture of Mexico. Recognizing the rapid growth of the Hispanic cheese category, the company says it is pleased to be a part of America’s growing interest in Mexican food products.
Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods Inc. has enjoyed the successful launch of its manchego cheese offering, introduced in late 2002. A popular semi-firm, mild cheese known for its meltability, manchego originated in Spain and was later brought to Mexico. Kraft Singles Manchego, sold in a 10.5-ounce package with bilingual wording, is produced in the United States and marketed to Hispanic consumers, primarily mothers and other gatekeepers. Available nationally, the product was developed, says Kraft, with its Hispanic consumers in mind.