The San Jose Group is playing a major role in NPB’s efforts to reach the Hispanic market. The Chicago-based Hispanic-marketing agency came on board last year to help NPB develop a strategic marketing plan to increase pork demand and consumption among Hispanic consumers.

Last fall, SJG conducted focus groups on a national level to assess Hispanic consumers’ perceptions, shopping habits and consumption patterns related to pork. In all, SJG surveyed 10 groups in five different markets based on the Hispanic population density and ethnic diversity. The cities were: Miami, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

The focus groups revealed some interesting facts. Researchers found that pork is widely consumed in the Hispanic household, but it is likely limited to traditional dishes that call for it.

In addition, barriers to consuming pork among Hispanics were far different from the non-Hispanic market. For instance, Hispanic consumers consider pork to be less healthy (high in fat and cholesterol) than chicken or beef. Whereas non-Hispanic consumers believe pork offers a viable alternative to chicken, being just as low in fat, cholesterol and calories.

Although these findings suggest that awareness of how diet affects health is increasing, it doesn’t top Hispanic consumers’ list. Taste and tradition take priority over healthy choices. Plus, many Hispanics confess to not being as informed as they would like to be on diet and health issues.