Hispanic influence: Tortillas take over burger buns as fast-food fave

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It’s tortillas, not hamburger and hotdog buns. Salsa, not ketchup. That’s the state of America’s fast-food favorites and top condiment requests, a new study shows — the result of a rapidly and continuing growing Hispanic population.

The Daily Mail reported that tortillas are now outselling more traditional American fare, like burger rolls and hotdog buns. Salsa, meanwhile, is outstripping the American classic ketchup as a condiment, industry watchers report.

Food watchers say the rising Hispanic population is leading to the mass integration of Mexican fare into American culture — in much the same way that Italian food, like pizza and spaghetti, are now popular U.S. favorites.

“When you think about pizza and spaghetti, it’s the same thing,” said Jim Kabbani, CEO of the Tortilla Industry Association, in The Daily Mail. “People consider them American, not ethnic. It’s the same with tortillas.”

Sales of Hispanic foods and drinks came to about $8 billion in the U.S. market in 2012 — and in the next five years, that statistic is expected to hit $11 billion. And for years, tortillas — the flat bread item that’s rolled — have been the No. 1 gateway food. Even as far back as 2000, the Tortilla Industry Association said Americans were eating about 85 billion tortillas in that 12-month period.

But sales are skyrocketing, and offshoot tortilla chips are even giving potato chips a run for the money, The Daily Mail reported. InfoScan Reviews, a company that tracks retail, reported that tortilla chip sales rose by 3.7 percent in groceries in recent months, compared to potato chips’ increase of 2.2 percent.

“The growth of tortilla chips is a little bit more robust than the growth of potato chips,” one official with the company said.

And it’s not just Hispanic food that’s making great strides in American markets.

In recent years, tequila sales are on the rise. In 2006, nearly 107 million liters of the drink were brought into the United States — a 23 percent hike from the previous year, said Judith Meza, with the Tequila Regulatory Council, The Daily Mail reported.

 

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