Hispanic mothers put convenience at the top of the list when it comes to grocery shopping. That is what five moms—Tricia, Naomi, Wendy, Grace and Connie—think about first when deciding where to shop.
Carlos Viramontes moderated a panel consisting of these five Hispanic moms on March 6 at the Mexican American Grocers Association (MAGA) Too Big To Fail conference, held March 5-7 in Palm Springs, Calif.
The moms, who were from Maywood, Downey, Compton, Huntington Park and Los Angeles, were asked where they shop for food. Their responses included Northgate, El Tapatio Markets, Superior Grocers, Stater Bros., Food 4 Less, Albertsons, Fresh & Easy, Ralphs, Sam’s Club and Costco.
When they are looking for meat for a special occasion or recipe, local Hispanic markets sometimes win out, but at least one said she likes chain stores for large or family-sized packages of meats. Northgate got high marks for its bakery.
A close second when it comes to choosing a grocery store is which has the best sales and deals for a particular week. Each woman said she looks at advertisements searching for good sales, and a couple use coupons. One doesn’t have a smartphone so she likes paper coupons, while another said she used her computer at home to load coupons onto her Ralphs rewards card. Two said they often forget to take their paper coupons with them.
Nearly all of the panelists look at a circular and make a list before going to the grocery store. One shops when she’s out for other reasons, so she goes to a store that is close by. One, Wendy, has a routine: she goes over the specials on Tuesday and goes to the market on Wednesday. But she keeps her list in her head.
Fresh produce and meat are important factors, too. The moms say they are looking for quality, variety and the best price. One said she specifically checks the store first for cleanliness, including the appearance of its employees.
While each of the mothers said convenience is a key factor when choosing a store, they also said that it is paramount when deciding on dinner, too. A couple of the women said they find themselves picking up meals to go when their family schedules are hectic.
“We live busy lives, so when it’s already made it’s really convenient,” one said.
Another said her market has a kitchen where they cook meals on Saturdays and Sundays.
“When you’re in there, they entice you and you’re hungry. You tend to shop more,” she said.
They look to grocery stores to help them because being short on time and making sure they have the right ingredients for a quick, easy meal are daily challenges. One said she tried to cook more at home because it is cheaper and healthier, but it can be difficult to have the time. A few of the five panelists said they try to cook enough dinner to have leftovers for lunches.
They also talked about celebrations and holidays. One mom said her family is always looking for a reason to celebrate, and there are plenty of occasions: birthday, baptisms, graduations, baby showers and when visitors come from Mexico as well as “Football Sunday,” one said.
Another said, “We pretty much celebrate anything.”
That includes both traditional Hispanic and American holidays, including El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) and Halloween, as well as July 4th and Sept. 16, which is the day Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain. Mother’s Day is always May 10 in Mexico, so some families celebrate it on that date and also on the second Sunday in May as is customary in the U.S.
Their television viewing habits also are an American-Mexican mixture. A couple of the panelists said they love novellas on Spanish television as well as shows on ABC Family, in addition to watching “lots of sports.” One professed her love for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Their concerns are universal: the economy, providing for their families, their children’s education and the price of gas and other necessities, as well as hoping their children will be able to find good jobs and make it on their own (and possibly one day help their mother out, one said).