AlixPartners recently collaborated with the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) to publish a “How to Win in Frozen” playbook, a landmark study on the state of the department. Download the comprehensive report here and stay tuned to this five-part series, “Opportunities in Frozen,” for insight on how to capture the coming growth.

Additional dollars are coming to frozen – $10 billion in the next three years1 – and the brands and retailers best positioned to capture those dollars are the ones that acknowledge the Hispanic shopper.

Currently, Hispanic consumers are materially under-indexed among both heavy and medium frozen shoppers, representing an attractive growth opportunity. 


Historically, Hispanic shoppers haven’t had as much use for frozen foods as the average U.S. consumer. Their population has been concentrated in regions with longer growing seasons and shorter supply chains, making it appealing and affordable to buy more fresh ingredients. Cooking from scratch has also been highly valued in traditional Hispanic culture, so frozen hasn’t been a mainstay. As the population grows and includes more second- and third-generation Americans, however, that is likely to change.

In the long term, we expect the frozen purchasing behavior of the Hispanic population to move closer to the overall average. That shift has serious financial implications given the much greater category engagement among medium and heavy frozen shoppers. The light frozen shopper spends an average of $147.40 annually in the category, while the medium frozen shopper spends an average of $603.34. 2


Despite additional opportunities to enhance frozen assortment to cater to specific meal and taste preferences among Hispanic consumers, much can be done immediately in terms of improved marketing and advertising efforts to win new frozen dollars from Hispanic without making significant changes to existing product lineups. CPGs have for many years included French on packaging distributed in the U.S. and Canada. For markets that are predominantly Hispanic, brands should include Spanish on their packaging and point-of-sale material. They can also advertise on Spanish Language Networks, which tend to have a higher return on ad spend because they’re less expensive than traditional channels, according to Nielsen.

Knowing that Hispanic shoppers engage with frozen differently than the average U.S. consumer, CPGs could endeavor to study how a Hispanic consumer’s path-to-purchase journey might be unique, allowing them to unearth insights on when and where messages about frozen will resonate. Including Hispanic consumers in that research effort – whether through focus groups, Spanish-language surveys, or other purposeful outreach – will be critical for brands seeking to develop a genuine connection.

Once CPGs have a better understanding of the Hispanic shopper’s path to purchase for frozen, they can collaborate with their trading partners to tailor recommendations accordingly. For their part, retailers must be in tune with the demographics of every neighborhood they serve and ensure they’re leveraging Spanish in relevant areas and targeting coupons, discounts and sampling appropriately.


Messaging geared toward Hispanic consumers should focus on the benefits of frozen that these shoppers already value. Because freshness is a highly prized attribute, messages like “frozen at the peak of freshness” may be well received. Another example: Convenience is appreciated by all consumers, but given the importance of cooking in Hispanic culture, it could make sense to design ads that focus on how frozen ingredients can allow for more meals at home despite the modern busy lifestyle. Again, the best practice when targeting any demographic group is to solicit feedback from that group early and often. Perspective from Hispanic people on marketing messages meant to appeal to them will be invaluable.

Similarly, due to the cultural diversity of this group, it is important to understand the nuances – and the big differences – across different Hispanic consumer segments (e.g., Mexico versus Argentina versus Colombia) and to tailor marketing and merchandising efforts accordingly.

Hispanic consumers account for 19% of the U.S. population now and are projected to be 29% of the population in 30 years. 2 Brands and retailers that want to grow alongside this group need to be intentional about building rapport now.



  1. AlixPartners projection based on SPINS and Euromonitor data
  2. Numerator

Want more? Check out these other recent insights from the experts at AlixPartners.

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