Sixty-five percent of U.S. Hispanics are Millenials, ages 22 to 35. Consequently, this specific demographic is expected to significantly influence the ethnic group's overall eating habits, according to information company The NPD Group.

NPD's food and beverage market research finds that heritage plays an important role in food preparation for U.S. Hispanic Millennials as it does with U.S. Hispanics in general.

Ready-to-eat, fresh and from scratch are the most common food forms during Hispanic meal preparation, according to NPD's NET (National Eating Trends) Hispanic research, which captures in-home and away-from-home food and beverage consumption habits of U.S. Hispanics by level of acculturation.

U.S. Hispanic Millennials display a preference for Hispanic dishes that reflect their heritage, the report finds. Hispanic dishes are included in 7 percent of all meals consumed by Hispanic Millennials compared to 2 percent of non-Hispanic Millennial meals. Sandwiches are included in 16 percent of non-Hispanic Millennial meals and 10 percent of Hispanic Millennial meals. Rice, a popular U.S. Hispanic food, is included in only 3 percent of non-Hispanic Millennial meals.

"U.S. Hispanics are youthful and therefore represent future opportunities for food and beverage marketers, especially now that their population growth is coming more from births than immigration," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "Understanding which product categories appeal to each Hispanic consumer group will be critical to effectively connecting with these consumers and understanding the situations and motivations that drive category consumption will enable food companies to influence future sales to these groups."

Read more about foodservice trends.

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