What you need to know

Mexican cuisine is by far the most consumed Latin cuisine, reflecting not only availability but also the profound influence on US food culture. The mainstreaming of Mexican cuisine is nearing ubiquity, yet there is still room for Latin cuisine growth. The widespread popularity suggests that there are similar opportunities for other Latin cuisines, as well as brand exploration with regional Mexican cuisines, especially beyond foodservice menus. A mix of both traditional and Latin inspired-options will be necessary from brands and operators to fulfill the needs of the total market, but in any case authentic ingredients and flavors will be essential to connect with both Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers. Hispanic consumers expect authenticity from brands, yet non-Hispanic consumers seek convenient ways (ie foodservice) to experience real Latin foods, flavors and ingredients too.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the Latin food market.

  • Latin cuisine varieties and dishes consumed

  • Attitudes and perceptions of Latin cuisine

  • Interest and experience with Latin cuisine flavors and ingredients

Market context

Economic and other assumptions

Mintel’s economic assumptions are based on CBO estimates released on February 1, 2021. The CBO’s previous forecast for US GDP to fall by 5.8% in 2020 was revised after a stronger second half of the year, and the updated estimate indicates negative 3.5% GDP for the year. The CBO forecasts GDP to grow by 4.6% in 2021 and projects unemployment to continue to fall to average 5.7% for the year.

COVID-19: US context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. It was declared a global health pandemic and national emergency in early March 2020. Across the US, various stay-at-home orders were put in place in Spring 2020, and nonessential businesses and school districts closed or shifted to remote operations. The remainder of 2020 saw rolling orders, as states and local governments relaxed and reinforced guidelines according to the spread of the virus in each region.

Vaccine distribution began in December 2020, and it is expected take anywhere from July to December 2021 for 70-90% of the population to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Mintel anticipates business operations in the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021 as the vaccine is widely administered.

Back to top