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Hey Montreal grocers: get ready for the new ethnic consumers

Arab and Hispanic shoppers are becoming a force in the province's biggest metro market

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Grocers in the Montreal area will have to make major changes in the coming years to gain business from the city’s fastest-growing markets–the Arab and Hispanic communities.

So says Francis Parisien, manager of Nielsen’s Montreal office, who spoke at a Sial Canada event held in advance of the organization’s trade show to be held in the city in early April.

READ: Sial show expects 15% growth this year

Parisien says the Arab population could become Quebec’s largest minority by 2020 and Hispanics will not be far behind, with most of the members of these communities residing in the Montreal area.

As a result, grocers will have to put the accent on fresh, high quality food. That’s because Hispanics and Arabs are used to making daily visits to stores for fresh produce and small purchases, he says.

For example, 60% of Hispanics and 58% of Arabs buy bread four to seven times a week, compared with only 7% of Canadians.

Corresponding with their frequent grocery shopping trips, Hispanic and Arab shoppers put a great emphasis on customer service from friendly, well-informed staff than does the general population, Parisien says.

On average, these immigrants will be 10 years younger and more educated than the general population. That will make them more open to innovative products, but less able to buy them as they will have less disposable income, he says.

READ: It’s a new world for ethnic snacks

Both communities will be looking for products from their native countries. Grocers will also have to use more Arabic and Spanish in their communication.

Grocers will have to offer more Halal fare and offer more promotions around religious holidays, Parisien suggests.

As well, grocers will have to adapt their marketing efforts to communities who rely more on TV and social media and less on circulars and coupons.

Only 28% of Hispanics and 34% of Arabs make use flyers, compared with 53% of Canadians.

READ: Ethnic conference focuses on what’s hot in ethnic marketing

And only 11% of Hispanics and 17% of Arabs use coupons, compared with 33% of Canadians, he says.

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