Baking & Snack - April 2020 - 47

that's a

TRENDS
Tortillas

The adaptability of a tortilla's formulation and fillings broaden and build its demand.
by Karlee Renkoski

T

Tortillas are about as old as time - or at least the preColumbian era. For centuries, Mexico was home to this
unleavened, corn-based flatbread. But in more recent
years, the secret has gotten out. With the increasing popularity in international cuisines, particularly Mexican
and Southwestern foods, the United States and other
countries have adapted the traditional wrap to fit their
own cultures.
Made of corn or wheat and even other ingredients;
tortillas come in all sizes and are incorporated into
meals other than with burritos or tacos. In 2018, the
tortilla global market was approximately $38 billion, according to The Insight Partners' February report. The
Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) saw US sales at $17.1
billion or more with corn and flour tortillas leading the
way and the total number of Mexican restaurants in the
country increasing.
The wrap's success is due to its ability to fill gaps
within the food industry with benefits such as meal and
flavor versatility, on-the-go formats and health-minded lifestyles.
Jim Kabbani, executive director of TIA, said the cat-

egory's growth comes from a "perfect storm" of drivers. They include an increasing Hispanic demographic
whose heritage includes tortillas, a greater interest in
the product's flavors from non-Hispanic consumers and
health-conscious dietary trends that include gluten-free
and alternative grains.
IbisWorld's industry analysis from August 2019
concluded that consumers are purchasing tortillas as
a "healthier substitute to bread." With the healthy eating index increase, the desire for products that have
higher nutritional content, lower net carbohydrates and
low-fat content has also increased. Tortillas often fulfill
this demand.
To keep up the momentum from these growth drivers, companies - those that have or haven't originated
with the production of Mexican cuisine - must remember to be mindful of what's inside the product.

The increasing popularity
of international foods over
the years has brought
tortillas into restaurants,
c-stores and supermarkets
around the world.
©JoannaTkaczuk - stock.adobe.com

Versatility in eatability
Since many consumers view tortillas as a healthier option than other types of bread products, companies can
make them the vessel for a variety of fillings. Not only

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