Photo: Las Vegas Tortilla Convention Allows Companies to Show Off New "Healthy" Tortillas
In 1990, the Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) was created to serve the emerging tortilla industry. Today, that industry is the fastest growing segment of the baking industry. Earlier this month, TIA held its annual conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV.
Looking to do its part to help shrink the ever growing waistlines of many Hispanics (and Latin food lovers), many booths at the convention showed off companies’ new line of whole grain, high-fiber, low-carb, and even gluten-free tortillas. These new products, companies say, is in response to the many Hispanics sharing that they are becoming more concerned with their health in terms of what they eat.
Eric Sanchez, a sales manager with Reiser, an equipment maker that provides the machine that cut mounds of dough that can be flattened into tortillas, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Hispanic people are getting bigger and bigger and we need to change. The second generation of immigrants are changing their eating habits.”
However, though healthier tortillas are catching on, they are doing so slowly, as traditional corn and flour tortillas are generally cheaper and a staple in most Latino households.
Though with the growing appeal of “wraps”, the tortilla industry is welcoming a new group of consumers. Even fast food restaurants like McDonald’s now offer wraps.
Still, as Americans well know, if it’s health food, it’s probably more expensive. National sales manager with Caremoli, which manufactures natural ingredients, John Brandquist said, “The difficulty is how to get the price down. In the tortilla industry, pennies go a long way. If a consumer sees a tortilla that costs more, he will wonder why he should pay it when the tortillas he has eaten for years are perfectly good.”