“The kitchen”…or so one Spanish-to-English website translated the term la cocina when I looked it up. However, that struck me as simplistic, considering the many contexts in which it appears. So I—of inconvenient Norwegian background—turned to my trusty co-worker, Julia Gallo-Torres, for help.

“It can also mean 'culinary' or 'cooking' or can refer to 'food,' depending on how it is used,” she said as she explained its subtler meanings. Similarly, when one considers the Hispanic influence on the food industry, subtle but important implications also can be overlooked.

The U.S. Census Bureau says that Hispanics numbered 37 million in 2001, the fastest growing and, at 13%, largest minority group. Some 20% of U.S. births are to Hispanic moms, a number expected to increase to 25% in 2010. The Selig Center for Economic Growth (Athens, Ga.) says U.S. Hispanics spent $54 billion on food in 2001.

However, taking advantage of these trends means moving past broad generalizations. For example, young Hispanics (aged 5 to 13) number 6.3 million. Although their buying power will be enormous, their true power may be their influence, says Marcia Mogelonsky (Utica, N.Y.). One piece of evidence is the growing number of Hispanic school lunches. And, though they possess a strong desire to be American, there is, for example, a young Hispanic community market for Hispanic-oriented snack foods that will translate to products for all kids. (Mogelonsky will speak on “The Hidden Baby Boomers—Hispanic Trends” at September's Prepared Foods New Products Conference. Also see more on page 11 of this issue.)

The “Latinization” of American tastes appears everywhere. Rich Products Corp. (Buffalo, N.Y.) promoted Tres Riches (i.e., tres leches) dessert mix at May's National Restaurant Show. Mintel's GNPD shows new tres leches ice cream bars from Haagen-Dazs (Minneapolis), and cake and dessert mixes from Dawn Food Products (Jackson, Mich.), Heidi's Gourmet Desserts (Tucker, Ga.) and Bunge Foods Group (Bradley, Ill.). Page 57 of this issue offers other culinary suggestions in “New Twists on Latin American Foods.”

Lastly, the Tortilla Industry Association (Dallas, Texas) says a new study shows that tortillas are the second most popular bread in the U.S. I recently was at a Minneapolis-St. Paul airport restaurant that featured “Lefsedilla”…a quesadilla, but made with lefse, a Norwegian potato flatbread. Yes, the influence of Hispanic food is everywhere.

Internet Information

For more information on this issue's articles, see the Internet sites provided below.

Child's Play
www.stayfreemagazine.org/archives/13/kline.html — A discussion of the world of licensed character marketing
www.zillions.org/research.htm — Article focusing on the growth of marketing to children at schools
www.mothering.com/10-0-0/html/10-3-0/10-3-whine97.shtm — Mothering magazine's look at corporate advertising to kids

Juiced Up
www.mintel.com — Mintel International Group
www.ultimatecitrus.com — A source for citrus information
www.pediatrics.about.com/library/weekly/aa111401a.htm — How Much Juice is Too Much?, research by the American Academy of Pediatrics

New Twists on Latin American Foods
www.globalgourmet.com — Information on the cuisines of Mexico, Brazil, the Caribbean and more
www.fronterakitchens.com — Rick Bayless' restaurants and publications

Emerging Ingredients
www.imaginutrition.com — IMAGINutrition website
www.NutraSolutions.com — Prepared Foods' print supplement on supplements

Formulating Sports and Energy Beverages
www.naturalinvestor.com/nfm-online/nfm_backs/Jul_02/energydrink.cfm — Energy drinks and the natural foods market
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/2001/2001_6/0601science.htm— Formulating sports products, osmolality and ergogenic aids

Ingredients in Use: Calcium and Vitamin D
community.healthgate.com/GetContent.asp?siteid=iHerb&docid=/tnp/pg000467— Extensive info. on vitamin D
www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/supplements/vitd.html — Vitamin D and diseases