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Latino Daily News

Thursday September 9, 2010

Challenges to Food Spending in Hispanic Households

The good news: Hispanic families are spending proportionally more than non-Hispanic families on food, however, there is ample evidence that their food budgets may be insufficient to meet the nutritional needs of all members of the household—including children.

Hispanics, often with lower median incomes and larger average household sizes than non-Hispanics, are particularly at risk for food insecurity. These pressures are intensified in an era of rising food and energy costs and economic recession. 

Latinos spend 15.3% of their income on food versus 12.5% for non-Hispanics.  While on average Latinos spend a larger proportion of their annual expenditures on food than non-Hispanic’s do, Latinos’ spending week to week on food is lower than that of Whites and may not be sufficient to meet basic nutritional needs. 

Recent increases in the cost of both food and household utilities deplete Latino families’ food budgets and also increase the risk of food insecurity.  Since food spending is more discretionary than other household expenses, families tighten their belts and may do away with healthy nutritional choices or certain food groups all together.