A healthier alternative
Increased demand for fresh, nutritional foods also prompts innovation and the creation of a greater variety of tortillas and wraps using premium ingredients.
“With trends to not ‘diet’ but to take initiatives to eat healthier, consumers continue to seek out products that will support their specific needs,” Ms. Nargang said. “Azteca’s entire product line offers healthier options for consumers,” she added.
Azteca Foods’ 12-SKU product platform is anchored by four flour tortilla options that feature no preservatives and no artificial colors or flavors. Other healthier options include two sizes of flour tortillas with added calcium and vitamin D, a tortilla made with and organic, whole grain and low-carb choices. In addition, Azteca’s Taco Salad Bowl/Salad Shell delivers the same restaurant quality in a product that is baked, not fried.
In addition, shoppers are becoming more and more knowledgeable, and they want to know what is in their foods and where it comes from. “I think the consumers are reading the product ingredient lists more now than ever before, and it’s a positive thing,” Mr. Nin said. “This year, Tortillas Inc. is working to add some organic products.”
La Tortilla Factory successfully launched its low-carb flour tortilla last year. In general, carbohydrate levels are important to consumers who are monitoring their nutritional intake.
“Low-carb tortillas remain a steady SKU in the category today despite the rise and fall of the ‘low carb’ diet many years ago,” said Sam Tamayo, vice-chairman, La Tortilla Factory. “The flour option adds another variety to our popular whole wheat low-carb tortilla.”
Versatility and usage occasions
Tortillas are second only to white bread in popularity. They come in sizes that fit whatever usage possibility consumers can dream up. In a culture where families are pressed for time and searching for easy menu solutions, tortillas offer a portable and convenient alternative.
“Many consumers now opt for tortillas as wraps in place of traditional sandwich bread,” Ms. Nargang said. “Because of their versatility, they transcend food types and meal dayparts, and they are the perfect carrier to most any ingredient.”
Tortillas can be eaten plain or wrapped around various fillings. They are the food delivery vehicle not only for traditional Mexican foods like enchiladas, burritos, and tacos but also for many other non-traditional foods and dishes. Manufacturers are thinking outside the box producing tortillas that can be used for sandwich wraps, pitas, pizzas, breakfast meals and even desserts.
“Health consciousness is at play in tortillas as a stand-alone snack or for use in meal preparation,” Mr. Tamayo said. “They are very user-friendly for filling with healthy and wholesome ingredients.”