• August 28, 2015

A New Professor Pursues 'Green' and Multicultural Branding

What Do Hispanics Buy at Whole Foods? A New Professor Finds Out 1

Cindy Karp for The Chronicle

Sigal Segev, an assistant professor of advertising and public relations at Florida International U., studies the effects of "green" branding on particular populations.

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close What Do Hispanics Buy at Whole Foods? A New Professor Finds Out 1

Cindy Karp for The Chronicle

Sigal Segev, an assistant professor of advertising and public relations at Florida International U., studies the effects of "green" branding on particular populations.

Now that environmentally friendly products have gone mainstream, Sigal Segev is focused on what everyday consumers—particularly Hispanic ones—consider "green."

The Israeli scholar will bring her insights and passion for research to the classroom at Florida International University, where she begins working as a tenure-track assistant professor of advertising and public relations in August.

Ms. Segev's research, says Fernando Figueredo, chairman of the university's department of public relations and advertising, blends in well with the department's new focus on three areas: "green" branding, health communications, and multicultural branding.

Ms. Segev has held a non-tenure-track position at Florida International since 2007. Allan Richards, associate dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, says her positive attitude and energy make her great to work with. "She is one of those people that is uplifting to the program and to the students," he says.

Ms. Segev had originally thought of becoming a journalist and working as a Middle East correspondent. She earned her bachelor's degree in political science and Arabic from Tel Aviv University in 1994 and moved to the United States that year.

The move didn't mean she had to give up her ambitions. Practicality, which she says has driven many of her decisions, led her to enroll in the university's master's program in advertising and public relations, given that Florida International did not have a master's program in journalism at the time.

She discovered her passion for consumer studies and communications while working on that degree and knew immediately she had not made a mistake.

"I fell in love with the topic, with the dynamic of the topic," she says. "It's journalism, it's public relations, it's consumer psychology, ... basically, it's creativity."

She decided she wanted a career in academe and enrolled in the doctoral program in communications at the University of Leicester, in England. The program there allowed her the flexibility to fly back and forth between England and Florida. She finished in 2004.

And although her goal was to find a position in academe, she took work in other fields. She says she knew that those positions would help inform her students later on about how to apply what they learned to real-world situations.

In between earning her degrees at Florida International and at Leicester, she worked as a public-relations officer for the Consulate General of Israel in Miami. She also worked as marketing-communications director for Surf Communication Solutions, a telecommunications company headquartered in Israel, with offices in several countries. Those experiences, she says, gave her "everything to be able to be credible in the classroom."

For instance, she taught a course at Florida International called "Publication, Editing, and Design" and was able to give real-world examples to students on how to work with designers to execute a company's advertising strategy because she had done that while working for Surf.

She started to focus on "green" consumption among Hispanics after she noticed, while shopping at Whole Foods, the large number of Hispanic consumers there.

She has found that their level of acculturation influences their shopping decisions. First-generation Hispanics, she says, tend to conserve more not necessarily because they are concerned about the environment, but because of the lack of resources in their home countries.

And with statisticians projecting that Hispanics will make up 25 percent of the population of the United States by 2050, the topic will remain timely for a while, which works well for Ms. Segev. "What I see is what I research," she says. "It's more down to earth."


1. footbook - July 05, 2010 at 04:46 am

<Comment removed by moderator>

2. icastellon - July 06, 2010 at 08:33 am

The title of this article is extremely misleading. I clicked on the link expecting to read about Hispanic purchasing patterns and got a fluff piece about a young asssistant professor's academic career -- which is not even interesting. How disappointing!

3. stevegaa - July 06, 2010 at 08:46 am

"What Do Hispanics Buy at Whole Foods? A New Professor Finds Out" But the reader of the article does not.

4. 22157285 - July 06, 2010 at 09:05 am

Another misleading article - based on the title.

5. ls0106 - July 06, 2010 at 09:28 am

I'm also disappointed by the misleading title.

What I find even more disappointing is that Dr. Segev is referred to by the author as "Ms." even though the author states that she earned her PhD in 2004. This is not the first time I have seen this happen but I really hope this pattern will stop in the near future.

6. yogateacher - July 06, 2010 at 09:39 am

First of all, she has a doctorate and should be referred to as DR. not MS. How inappropriate - AND it was written by a woman. Shame on you. You should know better!!

7. morgahl - July 06, 2010 at 09:40 am

I couldn't agree more with the other comments in terms of the fluffery and misleading headline. Apparently in order to get funding now, all research is labeled "green." It's another sorry day for journalism if Ms. Segev thinks that what she is doing is journalism.

8. sahara - July 06, 2010 at 09:40 am

Editors: it was irresponsible journalism to title this article in this manner. You should have done better!

9. honore - July 06, 2010 at 09:59 am

Is this a joke?
Why are we readers subjected to the same predictable, stereo-typed "latinos-as-another-species" clap-trap.
And on top of that, this "article" is not worth the electricity i used to turn on my computer.
This is just laughable.
PLEASE let me know if you need an editor with some REAL insight into the "hispanic" condition.
This article is little more than a side-bar written by the Taco Bell Chihuahua and certainly NOT as entertaining.

10. swish - July 06, 2010 at 10:20 am

I agree with all of the above, but I'd withhold judgment on the "Ms" issue -- there's a small possibility that the subject of the article requested the use of that title. (If so, let's hear from Ms. Lopez-Rivera. Otherwise, we'll assume the worst!)

11. wattsde - July 06, 2010 at 10:28 am

My students would get a failing grade on this submission - very misleading.

12. sinutkomorgan - July 06, 2010 at 10:33 am

Agreed on all counts. Can't say that is article offers anything of value. How disappointing after coming back to read The Chronicle after several years.

13. 12107034 - July 06, 2010 at 10:47 am

Hello folks. I know plenty of people get upset that we don't use "Dr." when addressing those that have PhDs. However, that is Chronicle style, and "Dr." isn't used unless the person is a medical doctor.

14. kingericred4ever - July 06, 2010 at 10:55 am

So what do Hispanics buy at Whole Foods? Strangely enough I thought an article entitled "What Do Hispanics Buy at Whole Foods?" would answer that question. I'm guessing the article entitled "Tenure, RIP" concerns Argentina's elimination from the World Cup.

15. citizenship - July 06, 2010 at 11:22 am

Dear Marisa Lopez-Rivera:

Only five sentences (all but one in the last few lines) out of the entire article relate in some obscure way to the title of this story. If you didn't come up with the title of this "People" megazip-style pan of dishwater, who did? I've seen more truthful and in-depth journalism in the ads of those perenially "going-out-of-business" storefronts.

16. 22214224 - July 06, 2010 at 11:28 am

i wasn't going to comment until i saw comment #13. i recently began working at an academic library. i don't even have my bachelor's YET. but i work for a terrific woman who EARNED her PhD last year. the amount of hard work and dedication i saw her put in (in addition to the emotional stress) while working a full-time job almost DEMANDS we call her DOCTOR. for a publication that supposedly espouses the value of higher education, whether attaining it or working in it, i would think they this would be something 'they' would value. if the 'chronicle style' is being lame, bravo. if it's to be an advocate for higher education, make recognition of achievements a standard.

17. vampyjess - July 06, 2010 at 11:35 am

Maybe the true subject of this article, Sigal Segev, should place this in her tenure packet. Oh, wait, "Tenure, RIP"

18. alvitap - July 06, 2010 at 11:46 am

This article about Hispanic choice is an obscenity. This article sounds more like a resume than a news article. I thought I would read about consumption trends not about the career choices of a recent immigrant.

There are many people engaging in alternative food acquisition methods-- duh, research and write about that. I don't go to the green store, I go to my own green garden--and save hundreds of dollars a month by eating from it, by loving it, and sharing with my neighbors, and sharing with the leadership of my town (who are brain-locked dumb). Unfortunately, I don't have the career opportunities of the subject of this worthless article.
(an indigenous neo-proto-man of the future) .... Aaiii! Que la chingao!

19. gplm2000 - July 06, 2010 at 11:49 am

Why is this article in the Chronicle? I thought the Chronicle was the mouthpiece for academic pursuit above K-12. I guess not. We can hear this kind of tripe from the talking babes on any cable news channel.

20. alvitap - July 06, 2010 at 12:04 pm

OK, I'll bite. What DO Hispanics buy at Whole Foods? I think you owe your readers another article.

21. vanessa115 - July 06, 2010 at 12:21 pm

This article is garbage. I agree with all of you that the title is misleading and the truth is no one cares about this Doctors educational journey. I am born and raised in Miami and I can tell you the reason Latin people are shopping at Whole Foods has nothing to do with the way people in their country are living, but has everything to do with locality of the establishment and the fact that most people in Miami are positively Hispanic. This article conveys that racial profiling in supermarkets is lame. The writer is insensible for feeding this to us.

22. vanessa115 - July 06, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Why do Hispanics shop at Whole Foods? Because they want to be healthy, skinny and lean. Cheers to South Beach Bodies! We have the most beautiful and exotic women in Florida.

23. hardenm - July 06, 2010 at 02:09 pm

Agreed - terrible article. But then again, I have been more and more disappointed in CHE of late.

RE: DR vs. MS - CHE is not alone in ONLY referring to MDs as Dr. This is really rather common at a lot of institutions. I work for a public research university and the ONLY people that are referred to as Dr. are MDs - faculty are either Professor LAST_NAME (no matter the rank), or Ms. LAST_NAME or Mr. LAST_NAME, PERIOD.

24. citizenship - July 06, 2010 at 02:26 pm

According to the author, Ms. Segev "...has found that their level of acculturation influences their shopping decisions. First-generation Hispanics, she says, tend to conserve more not necessarily because they are concerned about the environment, but because of the lack of resources in their home countries."

Replace "Hispanic" with the the name of any other immigrant group that has sought a better life for itself and its future generations in the United States and you would have an identical statement that has been previously noted innumerable times prior to this article.

Everything I learned about immigration from my family and from social and history courses pre-dates Ms. Segev's "insights" by many years. It is reasonably obvious to most people that the majority of immigrants who have left or are leaving their homelands are doing so because they can't get enough, if any, of what they want for themselves or their families, be it food, shelter, work or a host of personal freedoms. I don't see anything new in this article. Most first generation immigrants are naturally very conservative with what they have as they struggle to establish themselves and build a foundation for their families/future generations.

"She started to focus on 'green' consumption among Hispanics after she noticed, while shopping at Whole Foods, the large number of Hispanic consumers there." I wonder about her powers of observation as the Miami area has been predominately of Hispanic background for decades, long before she came to the area.

This story does not give me confidence that she has "everything to be able to be credible in the classroom."

25. 12107034 - July 06, 2010 at 04:15 pm

The headline that initially appeared on this article and has been criticized here was written by an editor, not the writer of the article. We agree that it was not the best description of the content of this piece, and so we have changed it. Thank you for your comments.

-Marisa Lopez-Rivera

26. richarddeu - July 06, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Dr., Ms., immigrant, typical lack of academic substance in worthless studies like my field (cultural anthro), what the hell, she sure looks damn pretty in front of the Whole Foods. Could be a great advertisement for them.

27. 22079340 - July 06, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Whatever the title: BORING example of self serving research...

28. honore - July 07, 2010 at 09:18 am

Dear Marisa, Before you reach for that next tourniquet, I want you to know the following.

1. If the very title of the article was PRE-determined and your assigned task was to write a fluffy "latino-dipped" salsification around the title, I can only say that what is passing for journalism today at the CHE is a disgrace. To write an article around a DELIBERATELY politically-charged title is tantamount to an ice-breaker I once participated in during the 1st meeting of a Journalism 101 class. It was a lot of fun and we all laughed as we listened to each others' 100 word responses to this "journalistic" challenge.

2. If this is actually what happened at the
CHE, YOU were not treated with even the lowest form of professional or dare I say it, "journistic" respect. And THAT is a tragic and very unprofessional reflection of the "journalistic" direction of the CHE.

3. I DO however, give you credit for coming out publicly to acknowledge the manner in which you were given this assignment, though it still smacks of poor judgemnt on the part of the editorial board at the CHE (again, no suprises here either), but for what it's worth, I wanted to share that with YOU.

4. Get your resume out immediately and start looking for another gig. H/E in the U.S. is rampant with anti-latin sentiment and those of us who challenge the mind-numbing policy wonks who make these abyssmal decisions are soon on the endangered list, while they are packing their birth control into their overnight bag before leaving for the Cape, without so much as a 2nd thought to you or your professional well-being.

5. Si necesitas ayuda escribiendo articulos para el CHE, escribeme o dejame saber tu e-mail y te ayudo. No esperes apoyo de estos hipocritas porque NUNCA te va a llegar.

Again, the best to you, Marisa...

29. beaming - July 07, 2010 at 09:30 am

FYI - Many publications use Associated Press style (available in a thick book or on the Web) which dictates that only MDs be referred to as Dr. And there are a ton of other rules writers observe based on AP style. Most college websites use Dr. and capitalize all manner of titles that would not be capitalized in a news article, but then they have to keep a lot of people happy who expect to be recognized in that way.

30. jruiz - July 07, 2010 at 09:45 am

"el CHE"

Muy estimado honore,

Not to be pedantic, nor disrectful, as I always find your posts to be on the mark, but it should be "la CHE". The gender carries over.

31. dank48 - July 07, 2010 at 04:05 pm

Right. And "surprises" and "abysmal" are conventionally spelled thus.

32. reader2222 - July 07, 2010 at 04:37 pm

Misleading title, but the store is great!

33. honore - July 08, 2010 at 08:18 am

dank48, thanks for the spelling lesson, forgot to press the spell-check button i guess, now go back to teaching the colors of the rainbow to those pre-schoolers

34. citizenship - July 08, 2010 at 02:05 pm


You and the unnamed editor hiding under your keyboard may want to change the articled title in the right side bar under RECENT NEWS

"What Do Hispanics Buy at Whole Foods? A New Professor Finds Out"

By Marisa Lopez-Rivera

Sigal Segev, an Israeli academic who teaches at Florida International University, does research on what consumers consider "green."

35. chiona1 - July 26, 2010 at 12:57 am

This article was worthless and had nothing of value to add. I was looking to find hispanic purchasing pattern but instead got a resume about some professor - which quite frankly was not interested in. Please don't give misleading headlines. I really didn't even want to register to this site but had to in order to make my comment...anyhow it is what is..what a disappointment!

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