Grocery Wars Turn to Latino Shoppers

By Kevin Cokely
|  Monday, Apr 11, 2011  |  Updated 11:35 PM CDT
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North Texas grocery stores are competing to appeal to Hispanic shoppers.

Kevin Cokely, NBCDFW.com

North Texas grocery stores are competing to appeal to Hispanic shoppers.

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The battle for Latino shoppers is the latest fight in the North Texas grocery wars.

Many retailers are taking note of a huge increase in the Hispanic population introducing more products that reflect Latinos' cultural identities.

The Forest Lane Walmart in Dallas nearly doubled the number of Hispanic food items on the shelves, and other Walmart locations are following suit.

"We have broadened the selection in our Hispanic category," said Dacona Smith, Walmart's regional general manager for North Texas. "So the customers -- the things that really touch home with the customers here in North Texas -- we're responding to their needs and their requests."

According to the 2010 Census, Texas now has 9.5 million Latinos, up 42 percent from just 10 years ago. In Dallas alone, Hispanics account for 42 percent of the city's population.

"Hispanics in North Texas have a $23 billion household income," said Anne Marie Weiss-Armush, of the DFW International Community Alliance.

She said Kroger, Walmart and Fiesta Mart are competing to capture a piece of the Hispanic market.

"Kroger has started producing in-store tortillas that are really delicious, and Fiesta Mart is starting a new campaign, a new series of programs of ethnic cooking lessons to try to capture those markets," Weiss-Armush said.

There is also talk that Walmart could bring a "Super Mercado" to Dallas/Fort Worth similar to one in Houston which focuses almost exclusively on Hispanic products.

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