The market researcher last week released the insight into Hispanic shopping behavior during the designated US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Hispanic Heritage Month. According to its Homescan research across multiple categories, the more culturally assimilated Hispanics became, the less evidence there was of brand loyalty in their shopping choices. The group used language as the primary measure of determining acculturation level, which influences Hispanic consumers' brand loyalty and shopping habits. This type of behaviour was seen in product categories such as toothpaste, laundry detergent, carbonated beverages and cereal. Furthermore, according to Mintel, as acculturation continues so does the importance of looking good, with more English language Hispanics agreeing with the statement 'I take time to look good every morning' than their Spanish speaking counterparts. This coupled with the fact that Hispanics tend to spend more than other groups on personal care products, despite lower incomes, highlights the importance for personal care manufacturers to understand the effects of integration. "When it comes to brand loyalty and the Hispanic consumer, the key learning for marketers is understanding the importance of building a brand relationship during the initial stages of acculturation and maintaining this connection as Hispanics' integration to American life increases," said Tim Kregor, president of Nielsen Consumer Panel Services. The market researcher stressed the importance of the family unit for the Hispanic population, with shopping often becoming a family affair. It also identified the need to create a connection with the consumer group in the shopping environment, through the use of sights, smells, sounds and sensibilities from their homeland. "By understanding what Hispanic consumers are buying, where they're buying it, how they're buying it and why, retailers and marketers can adapt product offerings and promotions to ultimately better satisfy this rapidly growing and diverse consumer segment," said Kregor. Speaking last week as part of USDA's National Hispanic Heritage Month observance, agriculture secretary Mike Johanns said the latest figures reveal that there are 44m people of Hispanic heritage currently living in the US. They account for 15 percent of the nation's population. By 2050, estimates suggest that there will be 100m Hispanics in the US, accounting for 25 percent of the population. Current Hispanic buying power is estimated to be nearly $1 trillion.