President Ratings, Ghost Kitchens, and Día de Muertos
Welcome to Latinometrics. We bring you Latin American insights and trends through concise, thought-provoking data visualizations.
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The president you might hate is very popular
Colombia is a hub for ghost kitchens
Día de Muertos is losing popularity
Make sure you check out the comment of the week at the bottom!
As humans, we tend to surround ourselves with people who share our values and opinions. That can be helpful if we want to build a community that’s growing in the same direction as us and fosters an environment of positivity. However, a tendency to only interact with people that share our political beliefs, class, race, or background can prevent us from developing critical thinking, understanding, and empathy for all humans.
Here's an experiment we suggest you try: ask ten of your closest friends, colleagues, or family members to answer whether they support your current president. If all ten say that they don't approve of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) or Jair Bolsonaro, that might signal that you lack more diverse perspectives in your life.
Let's examine AMLO’s popularity. In his first few months in office, the president held a “referendum” and canceled the construction of a new airport in Mexico City. Even though it was never built, the enormous project still cost the country $5.7B, largely due to contract cancellation clauses. Many vocal opponents continue to criticize the move to this day. Right around the time of the cancellation, though, AMLO had an 81% approval rating — a higher number than any of his four predecessors ever had.
Whether one agrees with the cancellation and supports AMLO or not, the reality is that some irregularities prompted many in the country to support the cancellation. There were reports of environmental concerns, “land-grabbing,” and corruption.
His numbers have decreased significantly since then to the 60% range. However, he remains one of the most popular leaders worldwide and in recent Mexican history, even if your mom, dad, or neighbor dislike him.
A ghost kitchen, or “virtual restaurant,” is a facility that enables anyone to prepare food and deliver it to customers via the Internet. According to Google Trends, the term gained traction in late 2018, when the controversial co-founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick, invested $150M to gain control of CloudKitchens. One pandemic later, CloudKitchens is worth $15B.
The market is projected to reach $113B by 2027. This means there is room for more Unicorns to be born, and entrepreneurs in Bogotá, Colombia, have risen to the occasion.
This month, Foodology raised a flashy, Maluma-backed $50M funding round to continue its expansion across Latin America. The startup, founded by Daniela Izquierdo and Juan Azuero, now operates 80+ ghost kitchens in 20 cities in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru.
Healthy competition is beautiful — Foodology was launched a couple of years after its slightly better-funded rival, RobinFood. CEO Jose Guillermo Calderon claimed in 2020 that the company sought to scale from 50 to 1,000 stores by 2025. This would make it one of the largest chains in the region.
Is it close to 1,000? No; similarly to Foodology, RobinFood has 80+ locations in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico today. And competition is fierce outside both Colombian startups. CloudKitchens has been quietly yet aggressively expanding in Latin America, with now 70 kitchens in eight countries.
We try to stay neutral and not show support for one company over another. However, we're heavily on the side of local talent and would love to see both Bogota-born startups triumph over American competition in the LatAm market.
The Day of the Dead is Mexico's most iconic holiday. It’s celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, and it honors the dead by lighting candles, setting up altars with flowers, and visiting cemeteries. To commemorate this tradition, many families build an altar where they place photos of deceased relatives along with other items that represent them—flowers, tequila, and food are usually involved, meant as offerings that guide spirits back home.
However, according to Google Trends, the popularity of Halloween in Mexico has overtaken the traditional celebration since 2011. Halloween has become increasingly popular among Mexicans because of the growing influence of American culture in the country, especially in the northern states.
Still, Hollywood has been paying closer attention to the Mexican holiday, which has also helped boost the tradition in its home country. In 2015, the James Bond movie Spectre opened with an action scene during a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City (a fictitious event that wasn’t actually taking place in the city at the time). The scene worked so well and brought so much international interest in the celebration that the city started actually hosting and promoting it every year since. Coco, which became one of Pixar's most successful films, has also done admirable work showcasing the Day of the Dead internationally.
Even with Hollywood’s help, the popularity of Halloween is likely to remain. Catrinas were originally created by a satirist to mock the Mexican upper class, but are today an emblem of the Day of the Dead holiday. Now, as Halloween becomes intertwined with Mexico’s tradition, many in the country and beyond make the Catrina their costume of choice on October 31st.
Realize Latin America’s Potential 🚀
This week’s opportunities:
Foodology is looking for a Sales Associate in São Paulo 🇧🇷
RobinFood has 20 open roles across Brazil 🇧🇷 and Colombia 🇨🇴
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That’s all for this week 👋
Comment of the week, from one of the 7M+ Venezuelans that have fled their homes:
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