- Author: Myriam Grajales-Hall
- Intermarriage is on the rise. About 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another, more than double the share in 1980 (6.7 percent), according to Pew Research Center.
- The growth of Hispanic and Asian populations in the United States continues. By the year 2050, Hispanics are projected to account for 30.2% of the total U.S. population, and Asians will account for 7.8%, up from 4.6% in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Roberta Cook, a Cooperative Extension marketing economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis, has been tracking demographic and fruit and vegetable consumption patterns in the U.S.
“The changing ethnic makeup of the U.S. population is definitively favorable, since Hispanics and Asian Americans consume fruits and vegetables at higher rates than African Americans and white,” she says.
Other trends that have contributed to the higher demand of ethnic foods:
- Today’s school-age children are growing up exposed to food diversity: a new School Nutrition Association survey shows most school cafeterias in America offer Mexican and Asian dishes, and many experiment with Middle Eastern, Greek, Kosher/Halal and Indian foods.
- College dining halls also serve foods from many cultures, and help refine students’ palates as they prepare for adulthood. The campus dining experience influenced where 44% of students decided to attend, according to a 2011 Technomic study.
The Lempert Report adds that two-thirds of consumers who eat ethnic food at home say ‘authentic or traditional flavors’ is the most important factor when buying or eating it.