Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Juice Mystique: Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Consumption of Orange Juice Brands and Drinks

I have spent quite a few years asking consumers about their consumption of orange juice and juice drinks. In visiting stores that cater to Latinos in Texas and California I tend to see large displays of shelf stable drink products like Tampico and Sunny Delight. Over the years I have heard Hispanic consumers state that these products have high percentages of juice in them, as high as 80% and sometimes even higher. Which is surprising because the actual juice content is low.  I was not sure about the extent to which the consumption of these juice beverages was higher or lower than popular orange juice brands.

To obtain a quantitative picture I examined data from the Experian Marketing Services Simmons National Hispanic Consumer Study that was collected in the twelve months ending on November 30, 2012.  The results I obtained provide an interesting perspective on the use of these products according to the chart below.

First I need to clarify I decided to compare Tampico and Sunny Delight with Minute Maid and Tropicana because these are large orange juice brands, and also included Jumex because the brand has its origin in Mexico and is well known by Latinos of Mexican origin.

The chart shows that even though Tampico and Sunny Delight are used by Hispanics to a larger extent than by other consumers, the prevalence of the use of those brands is relatively low when compared with major US brands like Minute Maid and Tropicana. Jumex orange juice is used at about the same rate as the Tampico and Sunny Delight beverages. It is salient to notice that Tampico and Jumex have a very prevalent Latino constituency. That may be explained by the affinity of the Tampico brand, since Tampico is a port in Mexico, and by the heritage of Jumex whose name comes from the roots “jugos” juice, and “mexicanos” Mexican.

Interestingly, Hispanics over-index non-Hispanics in the use of all the brands. I was expecting that they would over-index more markedly in their use of the less expensive beverages but that is not the case. Given their family orientation and their larger household size, Latinos consume more of these beverages regardless of their pricing or quality. Many have argued that Hispanics are likely to purchase their preferred brands or more expensive brands for their family even if their incomes are lower. These findings may provide a partial indication of that possibility.

Out of curiosity I decided to check on income levels by use of these brands to ascertain whether or not income is associated with their use, for Hispanics and non-Hispanics. The charts below show the results.

As can be seen there is a tendency for those with lower incomes to be more likely to use Tampico and Sunny Delight, as well as Jumex orange juice regardless of their Latino heritage. And in the case of Minute Maid and Tropicana the difference by income levels is small but somewhat slanted towards higher incomes, particularly in the case of Tropicana. What seems outstanding (thanks William Biggs) is that those in the lower income categories use the premium OJ brands much more, in general, than they use the lower priced products. It can be concluded then that lower income is somewhat of a driver in the use of fruit beverages like Tampico, Sunny Delight, and Jumex OJ, but marginally the opposite in the use  of major brand orange juices. Lower price points are more appealing to some of those with lower incomes, and perhaps these consumers justify their choices by attributing higher juice content to beverages that do not have such.

It stands out that even those with lower incomes are more likely to consume premium brand orange juice, than the less expensive counterparts. Thus the selectivity of diluted drinks and less expensive brands may be particular to some who knowingly find them appealing, or who do not know what the nature of the product is.

Clearly, if Latino consumers and non-Latino consumers of lower incomes and large families see a large container of an orange drink and believe it contains a large amount of juice and then compare the price with actual 100% juice products, they are likely to opt for the larger and less expensive product. But what if they compared labels carefully?

In a competitive market there is room for juice brands to more directly  and aggressively compete with products that have a small percentage of juice content by educating consumers as to what the differences are. Clearly, the less expensive products also have some benefits as they are enriched with vitamins.  If a brand has a true advantage it should exploit it to the benefit of their bottom line and their consumer base.

At any rate, there is ample room for marketers to better understand the consumer behavior of Latinos to more successfully market to and educate them. Latinos generally want the best for their families, and highlighting product differences for them may be helpful and also profitable.

The data used here is from Experian Marketing Services’ Simmons National Hispanic Consumer Study of adults 18+  and was collected from October 24, 2011 to November 30, 2012. The sample of Hispanics contains 8,521 individuals and the non-Hispanic sample has 17,043 people.

No comments: