Prepared Foods November 22, 2004 enewsletter

From 1999 through 2004, sales of mainstream Mexican and authentic Hispanic convenience foods -- such as entrées and hand-held items -- have grown 103%, according to "The U.S. Market for Hispanic Foods and Beverages," a new market research report from Packaged Facts. Sales grew from just under $250 million in 1999 to $505 million in 2004.

Ongoing demands for convenience and portability among busy American consumers and shifting tastes toward bolder flavors are fueling growth. Also, as U.S. Hispanics become more acculturated, they too are looking for ways to ease the daily burden of meal preparation. Dinner kits, single-serve beverages, and frozen foods are just some of the convenience products that are meeting demand in this segment of the $4.3 billion Hispanic food and beverage market.

"Hispanic on the run -- from pseudo-Mexican creations such as breakfast burritos to more authentic items such as Salvadoran papusas -- appeals to our changing national tastebuds, populace and demand for convenience," said Don Montuori, acquisitions editor for Packaged Facts. "If you consider the fact that nearly 90% of tweens told researchers that quesadillas are an 'everyday food,' it's no wonder that Hispanic cuisine is poised to eclipse Chinese as the favorite foreign food for Americans."