KANSAS CITY – The bread category has seen a number of companies introduce their takes on the sweet Hawaiian flavor profile in recent years. Now it’s time for the tortilla category to say “Aloha.”
Mission Foods, Inc., the Irving, Texas-based subsidiary of Gruma Corp., recently expanded its street tacos portfolio with the launch of sweet Hawaiian flour tortillas. The 4.5-inch tortillas are part of Mission’s “super soft” line and come in a 10-count package.
“Why should bread have all the fun?” Mission said in promotions for the new product. “Our new sweet Hawaiian street tacos pack big island flavor in a small street taco size. These tasty flour tortillas are perfectly sweet and super soft. Try with some pulled pork and pineapple for a tropical-twist on taco night. Bring a little aloha to your table tonight.”
The sweet Hawaiian tortillas contain 140 calories, 4 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fat and 360 mg of sodium per two-tortilla serving.
Mission Foods will be hoping the new tortillas can reverse some declining volume trends in the category. With dollar sales of $1.3 billion and unit sales of 397 million in the 52 weeks ended May 15, Mission is the largest manufacturer in the hard/soft tortillas/taco kits category tracked by IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. While dollar sales at Mission were up nearly 5% in the period, unit sales were down 2.1%, which contributed to an overall volume decline of 3.4% in the hard/soft tortillas/taco kits category, according to IRI.
Adolfo Fritz, investor relations officer at Gruma, said during an April 21 conference call with analysts that retail tortilla sales have maintained strong momentum since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, buoyed in large part to demand for the company’s “better-for-you” tortillas, specifically gluten-free and Carb Balance product lines.
Street tacos also were at the core of a new product launch at Orange, Calif.-based Chi-Chi’s. Part of MexaMex Foods, Chi-Chi’s late last year debuted street taco-style tortillas in 10-count packages at a suggested retail price of $1.59 at major supermarkets in the eastern United States.
“Perfectly portioned to hold all your favorite fillings, our new Chi-Chi’s street taco-style tortillas offer the versatility and deliciousness of our beloved Chi-Chi’s flour tortillas in a compact size just like the trendy taquerias and taco trucks,” said Selena Husted, associate brand manager of the Chi-Chi’s brand.
Ms. Husted said the street taco-style tortillas are perfect for on-the-go snacking, school lunches, appetizers and for experimenting in the kitchen with children.
“Because they are only 4.5 inches, they’re also a great option for health-conscious individuals looking to enjoy tacos with smaller portion sizes,” Ms. Husted said.
La Banderita, the No. 4 ranked hard/soft tortillas/taco kit brand with dollar sales of $305.6 million in the 52 weeks ended May 15, according to IRI, introduced the first zero net carb tortilla last summer. Manufactured by Norcross, Ga.-based Ole Mexican Foods, La Banderita Carb Counter street tacos feature 20 calories and 5 grams of fiber per one-tortilla serving, but they contain no sugar, carbohydrates, cholesterol or trans fat, according to the company.
Meanwhile, a new take on the street taco tortilla is taking place at Sana Foods, Los Angeles. The plant-based gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free packaged food company earlier this year partnered with Sprouts Farmers Market to introduce Sana street taco tortillas, which the company said is the first-ever street taco-sized grain-free tortilla on the market.
The new street taco tortillas are made from organic coconut flour and contain 120 calories, 8 grams of fiber, 3 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein per four tortilla serving.
“There has been a lot of progress in the market for ingredient substitutes for tacos — vegan cheeses, meatless proteins and more,” said Camille Gibson, chief executive officer of Sana Foods. “What’s been missing is a tortilla that is free of gluten and grains, that doesn’t fall apart and tastes great when loaded with the other good stuff. We are excited to be the industry leader in this space, providing consumers with a healthy option that truly allows them to enjoy taco night.”