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Tasting Identity: Trends in Migrant Demand for Home-Country Goods, Summary

November 20, 2008

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This report is a study on the demand for nostalgic goods and the ways in which local ethnic stores support that demand. The study is the first of its kind and is based on a nationwide survey of 1300 individuals from twelve nationalities and interviews with nearly fifty ethnic stores supplying home country goods to migrant populations. The results of the study show that migrants manifest a solid demand that looks for quality and product selection, and relies on a network of stores and importers to satisfy those needs. This demand reflects realities of community building, identity and transnational links. Moreover, the presence of ethnic stores operating across inner city neighborhoods emerge as the interface of global economic links, connecting identity with necessity by selling those products demanded by migrants.