The purpose of this study was to predict Latinos', consumers from Mexico and Puerto Rico, willingness to buy ethnic produce recently introduced or new to market. Specifically, we analyzed and compared socioeconomic characteristics of 542 Mexican and Puerto Rican consumers and expressed value judgments on their willingness to buy ethnic produce that has been recently introduced or new to market. This study was based on a primary data set collected from interviewing 542 Latino consumers (Mexico and Puerto Rico origin). A bilingual questionnaire was prepared in Spanish and English for Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in 16 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia) and Washington, DC. Attributes that contributed toward willingness to buy new ethnic produce include respondent's expenditure on total produce and ethnic produce, perceptions such as the importance of store availability, language, willingness to buy locally grown, organic, genetically modified, and country of origin labeled produce items. This information will assist market intermediaries and farmers better understand Latino consumers' (Mexico and Puerto Rico group) perceptions and factors that drive willingness to buy ethnic produce that is recently introduced or new to market.
The rapid expansion of Asian populations in the United States presents significant opportunities and challenges for the eastern U.S. produce sector to take advantage of their close proximity to densely populated areas. Initial crop studies followed by ethnic consumer and crop surveys were conducted to examine vegetable, leafy green, and herb consumption and expenditures among Chinese, Asian Indians, and other Asian groups. Consumer choices were used to prioritize subsequent production trials. Family expenditures were determined for specific Asian produce types and total produce purchases. This market data were extrapolated to the east coast Asian populations to assess potential market size (90% confidence interval, error margin 5.6%). Chinese consumer values ranged from $245 to $296 million per annum and Asian Indians ranged from $190 to $230 million per annum. The average annual fresh fruit and vegetable expenditures by both Asian groups were 2 to 3.5 times respective national averages. Leading Chinese vegetables determined by average expenditures were baby bok choy, pak choy, oriental eggplant, snow pea, oriental spinach, and napa cabbage. Highest expenditure of leafy greens and herbs for Chinese consumers were chives and garland chrysanthemum. This market-driven survey reported consumption of over 100 Asian crops and 42 cultivars were ranked “feasible” to grow in the eastern section of the United States. Horticultural matrices of selection criteria narrowed the list to the most promising candidates for production. As a result, 28 cultivars were then grown in University research and demonstration plots at Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Florida in determining growth characteristics and yield to focus horticultural crop producers. Leading vegetable cultivars for Asian Indian consumers were bitter gourd, eggplant, fenugreek leaves, cluster beans, and bottle gourd. Leading leafy greens and herbs for Asian Indians were turmeric, fenugreek, sorrel spinach, and radish greens. Most of these Asian cultivars were demonstrated to grow well in the three main growing zones of 5, 7, and 9. Phytochemical attributes such as antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and mineral contents were analyzed for several of the leading crop candidates. This initial field and laboratory data shows that many of these ethnic crops can be grown in the eastern United States to direct production opportunities and are nutrient rich to help drive consumer demand.