Home » AWG Continues To Strengthen Focus On Hispanic Business
Grocery Industry Grocery News Independent Store News International Foods National Shelby Signature Content

AWG Continues To Strengthen Focus On Hispanic Business

AWG logo

Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 10:11 am

by Kristen Cloud/staff writer

It would probably be an understatement to say that Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) puts a special focus on its Hispanic business.

The Kansas City, Kansas-based wholesaler has been growing its Hispanic segment over the last four years and has seen a more than 500 percent increase in sales, according to Carlos Villarreal, director of international products at AWG. Villarreal is based at AWG’s Fort Worth Division.

Carlos Villarreal
Carlos Villarreal

“We are seeing the growth, trends and opportunities in the Hispanic market, and we are continually strengthening our structure to support the growth of our Hispanic program,” Villarreal tells The Shelby Report, referring to AWG’s Hispanic business. “When AWG opened the Fort Worth Division eight years ago, we were aware of the Hispanic opportunities and have worked toward becoming the best Hispanic wholesaler in the market. Staying ahead of the trends, we have put together a team to cater to the needs of a growing Hispanic market.”

AWG has a dedicated Hispanic category manager, Hispanic procurement based in Fort Worth, a business development manager to help support the increase in Hispanic business with new and current members across all nine of its divisions, and a marketing manager dedicated to helping its members market their Hispanic products.

Spending by Hispanic consumers at the grocery store is at its highest point in three years, according to a recent report from Acosta Sales & Marketing.

“With the Hispanic population of 57 million expected to double by 2050, brands and retailers recognize that this growth can positively impact their bottom lines,” says Colin Stewart, SVP at Acosta. “Knowing how these consumers shop and make purchase decisions is important for capturing market share.”

While it’s little surprise that AWG’s Fort Worth Division sees the largest share of the company’s Hispanic business, the wholesaler’s other divisions are experiencing growth with the segment as well. AWG’s divisions include Kansas City, Springfield, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Memphis, Fort Worth and Gulf Coast.

In fact, retailers from across AWG’s service area came together in early July as the company hosted a round-robin retailer-vendor meeting at its Fort Worth offices in Texas.

“Every division has tremendous opportunity to grow their Hispanic business,” Villarreal says. “We’ve coordinated 36 different Hispanic vendors to meet with our members to receive additional funding and deals to support member programs for the rest of the year alone.

“We want retailers to know the dedication and focus we are putting on the Hispanic business,” he adds. “Every division has tremendous opportunity to grow their Hispanic business.”

AWG’s Hispanic initiative covers the entire store and now includes a special emphasis on perishables—from produce to meat.

“It’s kind of unique and special what Hispanic retailers are looking for, so we have a continued focus on building the program to take care of that (perishable) piece of the business,” Villarreal says. “We are a retailer-owned company and will always be focused on retailer needs.”

Hispanic customers are not just looking at price, but also quality, according to Villarreal. It’s among the reasons consumers, and therefore AWG retailers, are looking at authentic specialty items, especially when it comes to produce.

“There are many unique produce items coming from Mexico. Items like cilantro, Roma tomatoes, mangos, jalapeno peppers, poblano peppers, Mexican squash, small avocados and serrano peppers are unique items for the Hispanic consumer,” Villarreal says. “We are big in produce and service many retailers in Texas. In order to service our members’ needs we continue to enhance our program to carry the right items at the right price for our customers.”

For more information about AWG’s Hispanic program, contact Villarreal at 817-568-3822 or [email protected].

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

Featured Photos

Featured Photo ROFDA Spring Conference
Renaissance Esmeralda
Indian Wells, CA