New product development in the tortilla snacks market has mainly focused on healthier formulations (e.g., low trans fat, organic, whole-grain), new flavors (Thai-style, curry, pizza) and smaller snacking formats. A new, fish-shaped variety in Mexico aims to add to the list and bring an element of originality and fun. The new Milpa Real TostiPez corn tortilla from bakery company Bimbo is described as the only tortilla with a fish shape and ideal for topping with meat or vegetables, giving consumers more choice beyond the triangle. This simple change in product shape may not be a new trend in other markets, with new formats increasingly appearing in confectionery, breakfast cereals, biscuits, etc. However, it will add impetus and novelty to the tortilla market and also has potential to open the floodgates, with other fun-shaped introductions or even interactive shapes (e.g., jigsaw pieces) to target tortilla snacks at children. The biggest issue is whether the new shape will function as well as the traditional triangular version. The triangular shape is also ideal for scooping a dip or for keeping toppings in place. The packaging helps the product stand out on shelves. This new line is available in a colorful carton with a window aptly shaped as a fish.
Wheat prices have reached record highs, having doubled in recent years, and poor harvests have led to reduced stocks. In addition, many farmers are switching to maize to supply the growing demands for bio-fuel. All of which is leading to a need to find alternative grains as sources of carbohydrates and other nutrients. These alternative grains are, in many cases, ancient and traditional grains that have fallen into neglect over the years and are now having a revival. Grains such as kamut, spelt, teff, amaranth and quinoa are becoming more popular and growing across several categories such as pasta, bread and even ready meals. In France, Alter Eco introduced quinoa biscuits with milk chocolate, a Fairtrade product using Bolivian quinoa, cane sugar from Paraguay and cocoa from Ghana. The company claims the quinoa flour gives the biscuit sticks a subtle and unique hazelnut flavor. The product is unique, as it is one of the first biscuits with quinoa in the market, opening new opportunities for the use of ancient grains.