Adventurous foodies

Another group driving interest in Hispanic-themed products are “ethnic explorers” — consumers who like a variety of global flavors in their foods but who often purchase different items than native Hispanic households, according to Nielsen Perishables Group research supplied by the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association.

America’s diverse population exposes consumers to different cuisines and new flavors, and they like to try new foods. Seventy-seven percent of Americans eat ethnic foods while dining out at least once a month, and more than one-third order ethnic food weekly, according to Technomic.

The Chicago-based research firm recently compiled a list of the most popular ethnic cuisines for Parade Magazine. Mexican cuisine was second among the Top 10 most popular at 74%, joining Chinese and Italian cuisine in the Top Three. However, what is considered an ethnic food is different for different people.

“Along with Italian and Chinese food, Mexican food is one of the three main cuisines that are simultaneously ethnic and mainstream for the American consumer,” Mr. Arellano said.

Oftentimes, consumer interest depends on geography. Typically, the Western region of the US boasts the highest tortilla dollar sales. In 2013, 34% more tortillas were sold, totaling more than $4 billion. Sales in the South Central region came in second with 29% of the market.

However, as testament to the growth of the industry in regions like the Northeast, TIA is hosting its 2015 Tech Seminar at Harrah’s Waterfront Resort Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, October 21-22. This is the association’s first-ever East Coast event.