Congress has declared September “National Tortilla Month.” According to the Tortilla Industry Association (TIA), the sale of tortillas is poised to outpace the sale of sandwich bread for the first time in United States history with sales projected to cross the $6 billion dollar mark, making this a momentous occasion marked by the declaration.
In recognition of the growth and consumption milestones for tortillas in the U.S., tortilla and ingredient manufacturers petitioned Congress to identify the significant contribution of this Latin-based product on American culture and to the U.S. economy. The declaration was sponsored by Congressman Devin Nunes of California’s 21st District.
Tortilla sales in the U.S., split about equally between corn and flour, are growing at close to double digit rates, suggests research being conducted by TIA. “Two factors are driving this growth,” says Jim Kabbani, TIA’s Executive Director. “One factor is demographic–increased immigration and birth rates of Hispanic Americans –but just as significant is the adoption by all Americans of healthier eating habits. People are eating wraps instead of sandwiches which is contributing to the positive trend in sales and consumption.”
TIA is a non-profit trade association founded in 1990 to assist member companies, and the industry as a whole, in efficient growth and development, and to promote the consumption of tortillas and related food products. The association has 200 member companies representing tortilleros, ingredient manufacturers and equipment suppliers. New membership in TIA has grown over the past year by 10% reflecting the growth of the industry. Members receive significant benefits through group buying, educational and business-building programs specifically designed for tortilla industry representatives.
At the upcoming TIA convention in Las Vegas, September 29 through October 1, members will compete to bake the world’s biggest tortilla. “We hope to host this competition each September during our future conference to draw attention to how much bigger the market is growing,” Kabbani says.