It’s no secret that Puerto Ricans have a deep-rooted love affair with food, whether gourmet or straight off a food truck. A study released Tuesday by McCann Worldgroup Latin America confirmed that 66 percent of island residents chow down on so-called “street food” at least once a week, beating out most of the Latin American region except Argentina.
McCann’s “Truth About Street” study revealed that Latin America’s economically active middle-class population — some 170 million people — annually consumes some $127 billion of street food.
Argentinians also love their street food, as the study showed that 67 percent prefer grab-and-go items over sit-down meals. They, along with Puerto Rico, edged out Mexico (58 percent), Guatemala (56 percent), Chile (49 percent) and Brazil (36 percent).
Although street food from “ambient vendors,” defined as nameless, crowded together, and with questionable hygiene, remains a popular option there is a trend toward healthier settings.
Puerto Rico, where 49 percent of residents believe street food is not harmful, boasts sophisticated food carts that carry the most branded foods in comparison to the rest of the region. The study also showed that 48 percent of Puerto Ricans choose their street food for its flavor, higher than Guatemala (38 percent) and Brazil (35 percent.)
Part of the goal of the study conducted by more than 2,500 McCann Latin America employees who took to the streets of 25 cities across the Latin American region on May 10, 2012, was to identify marketing opportunities for branded food products.
“This study, which put our employees in direct contact with the reality on the streets, confirms a perception that the streets of Latin America can be a significant new revenue source for food and beverage brands,” said Luca Lindner, regional director of McCann Worldgroup.
The teams tracked everything these consumers ate and drank while on-the-go at sites where people linger less than 30 minutes and spend less than $5.