According to Latin on the Menu: The U.S. Foodservice Market for Hispanic Foods, published by Packaged Facts, foods that five years go were unheard of except in immigrant households are not popular on restaurant menus. The market study said the potential to drive Latin foodservice sales to $25 billion by 2015 is very real.
The report said the foodservice market for Latin foods was worth $18 billion in 2005. The fastest growing ethnic food category, Latin is second only to Asian in popularity. The general agreement among restaurant industry analysts is that growth in both Latin dining establishments and Latin menu items will escalate, bolstered by the growing buying power of Hispanics, which is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2010, the study said.
Packaged Facts observed that Latin-themed quick-service restaurants (QSRs) have been growing twice as fast as QSRs overall. In non-commercial, onsite, and institutional foodservice, 67% of operators now menu Latin foods, a trend that was barely visible five years ago. Latin chains are all the rage, many showing high double-digit growth over the last several years. Even tortillas have taken off, with 2007 sales expected to reach $7 billion.
"Latin just keeps getting hotter as the American palate discovers the tropical delights of native fare that was previously unavailable," noted Dr. Rachel P. Maines, the report's author. "Flavors are liberally being fused both by top chefs in metropolitan fine dining establishments and home-grown, immigrant chefs in small, family-owned restaurants-to create interesting world flavor experiences that are leaving consumers begging for more."