The impact of demographic trends on U.S. food sales: Strategies for exporting food products to the U.S.
As the population diversifies, the demand for food in the U.S. fundamentally changes
Food consumption patterns in America are about to change, and this time the reason is purely demographic. The number of people migrating to and being born in the United States is growing: the U.S. population has reached 331 million (2020), and the U.S. is on track to pass the 400 million mark by 2060. In particular, Hispanics and Asians are set to account for a significant share of the total U.S. population, so there will be significant changes in food exports from Italy to the U.S. in the coming years.
How the demographic composition of the United States will vary over the next four decades:
- People of Hispanic descent: 19% to 29% of the total population;
- Black non-Hispanic people: 12% to 13% of the total population;
- People of Asian descent: 6% to 9% of the total population;
- White non-Hispanic people: 57% to 44% of the total population.
Let's see how these demographic trends will reshape food consumption patterns in America.
Food consumption in the United States: demand for products by the racial and ethnic group of American consumers
There will be an increasing need to import grains to America. As the non-Hispanic white population declines, dairy consumption decreases while demand for dairy products in general increases
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of U.S. consumers, people also make food choices based on their origins. According to the most recent reports, population diversification will change the demand for some food products. Below we list the categories of greatest interest to Italian companies that want to export and sell food products to the United States:
- Fruit consumption: overwhelming majority Asians, followed by Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks, and non-Hispanic whites.
- Vegetable consumption: Asians, non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic blacks.
- Grain consumption: overwhelming majority Hispanics, Asians, non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic blacks.
- Seafood consumption: overwhelming majority Asians, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites.
- Dairy consumption: non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks, followed by non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic Asians.
Food exports in the United States: Differences in the food consumption patterns of the American population persist over time
Opportunities in the United States for Italian food companies. Asian and Hispanic consumers drive the demand for fruits and vegetables, grains, and seafood products in the U.S. market
Differences in supermarket purchases in the U.S. are associated with differences in the quality of the consumers' diets. For example, U.S. consumers of Asian descent have the most balanced diets. This figure reflects the consumption trends of this group and should be a positive sign for companies that produce and sell minimally processed food products.
For that matter, it seems that the change in the U.S. food market is here to stay. In the first 5-10 years after their arrival in the United States, immigrant consumers adopt the food patterns of their country of origin. After this period, eating habits continue to be conditioned by race and ethnicity, despite the acquisition of shared gastronomic knowledge among non-Hispanic white consumers.
In conclusion, the more diverse the population becomes, the more the domestic demand for food will change. Although new immigrants often adopt the consumption patterns of U.S.-born citizens, the demand for specific products and differences in a dietary regimen will continue to be critical determinants of Italian food export success in the U.S. market. [Source: USDA]