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Preference for ethnic specialty produce by the Hispanics in the east coast of the USA

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Purpose ‐ The consumption of ethnic food is an integral part of the Hispanic culture. Therefore, this study was carried out with the intention of assessing the consumption and preferences for ethnic specialty produce by the Hispanics in the east coast of the USA with an aim of formulating production and marketing guidelines to meet the increasing demands of the rising Hispanic population in the USA. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data were collected through telephone interviews from 542 randomly selected Mexicans and Puerto Ricans living in 16 east coast regions of the USA. Questions related to socio-demographic details and consumption and preference for 20 pre-determined ethnic specialty produce were asked. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Findings ‐ Chain grocery stores were the most common outlets for ethnic produce. Freshness and quality were the most important criteria for both Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Expenditure patterns revealed that they allocate 71 percent and 62 percent respectively on ethnic produce compared with other produce. Age and education had a negative influence while income had a positive influence on the willingness-to-pay for ethnic specialty produce. Research limitations/implications ‐ In this study, only ten crops each were selected as ethnic specialty crops that are consumed by Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and the average willingness-to-pay for these crops were elicited. Practical implications ‐ Based on the expenditure patterns of 20 ethnic specialty produce commonly consumed and having a potential to be grown in the USA, this study recommends crops to be prioritized for production trials and grower recommendations. Originality/value ‐ The approach outlined in this paper uses a market-driven assessment for crop prioritization research.
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Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Ethnic groups; Ethnic specialty produce; Food products; Hispanics; Logistic regression; Preferences; Willingness-to-pay

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 29 June 2012

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