FSNS partners with Tortilla Industry Association (TIA)

Tortilla sales set to rise, thanks to popularity of Hispanic meals

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

One of the top manufacturers for tortillas is Mission Foods, a division of Gruma, in Monterrey, Mexico. Pic: Mission Foods
One of the top manufacturers for tortillas is Mission Foods, a division of Gruma, in Monterrey, Mexico. Pic: Mission Foods

Related tags Tortilla

Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) has partnered with the Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) to provide 2,600 members with food safety information and educational resources in the US.

The US market for Hispanic foods and beverages surpassed $8bn in 2012, and is expected to reach $11bn in 2017, according to Packaged Facts.

Mission Foods, Dallas

Its report, ‘Hispanic Foods and Beverages in the US 5th Edition, 2012’, claims tortillas outsell traditional American staples like spaghetti, hamburgers, hotdog buns and other fresh types of rolls, buns, croissants and bagels.

According to IRI, market research firm, dollar sales in the fresh hard/soft tortillas/taco kits category increased nearly 6% to $2.28bn, in the 52 weeks ending June 14, 2016, while unit sales rose 4.6% to more than $1bn.

Top manufacturers include Mission Foods, Dallas, a division of Gruma in Monterrey, Mexico, which surpassed sales of $6.95m, up nearly 12% compared to last year, and unit sales increased nearly 11%, stated the market research firm.

Joining Mission Foods and Gruma in the top five producing vendors were General Mills, Minneapolis, and Ole Mexican Foods, Norcross, Georgia.

Santa Rosa-based La Tortilla Factory's hard/soft tortillas/taco kits also saw sales increase around 37% to more than $32m in the 52-week period, and the company’s Smart & Delicious hard/soft tortillas/taco kits posted sales of $14.7m.

Chicago-based Azteca Foods/Baja Trading's refrigerated tortillas topped other vendors in the refrigerated tortilla category with sales of $28.3m, said IRI.

One contributing factor as to why tortillas are in hot demand is the continued popularity of Hispanic meals​,” said Julie Nargang, VP, marketing/innovation, Azteca Foods, Chicago.

Auditing & food safety

FSNS will provide value-add programs and services for TIA members as part of its Food Safety Net Services Certification and Audit (FSNS C&A), including lab service discounts, audit program, educational presentations covering HACCP, and auditing and food safety for TIA’s meetings and conferences, beginning Q4.

As an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory network, FSNS will assist with Microbiological Testing; Chemistry Testing; FSMA Compliance; Research & Consultation; Education Classes; and Independent Certification and Audit.              

We are pleased to become an associate partner with TIA and offer its membership food safety services and the industry resources they need to drive success​,” said Jeff Carpenter, VP Strategic Alliances, FSNS, which is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.

Casper Høy Simonsen, application specialist, DuPont Nutrition & Health, says low-fat tortillas are a winnable challenge.


  • One of the early documented discoveries of the tortilla was on April 22, 1519, by Hernando Cortez and his conquistadors. Named by the Spanish conquistadors, tortillas are an important part of the diet in South American countries. In Spanish cookery, a tortilla is a flat omelette usually filled with potatoes, onions, or salt cod, which is cut into quarters like a cake.
  • According to Mayan legend, tortillas were invented by a peasant for his hungry king in ancient times. The first tortillas, which date approximately 10,000 years before Christ, were made of native corn with dried kernel. Today, corn tortillas are made from either corn cooked in a lime-based solution or by using cornflour to produce the dough, forming it like a pancake and baking in an oven.
  • Flour tortillas are a low-fat food and contain iron, along with other B vitamins. They have about 115 calories with 2 to 3 grams of fat per serving.
  • Corn tortillas are low-fat, low sodium food and contain calcium, potassium and fiber. An average serving contains about 60 calories with 1 gram of fat. Corn tortillas do not contain gluten, making them an alternative to bread for those who are gluten intolerant.
  • The tortilla industry is the fastest growing sector in the US baking industry.
  • Today’s tortillas are manufactured under strict quality guidelines to preserve the taste and texture of this historic food. (Source: TIA).

He said, for tortilla manufacturers, fat reduction is a good place to start when looking to raise the nutritional profile or cut the cost of their tortilla formulation, claiming with the fat content of a typical wrap at 5-10%, fat reduction by 50% or more will bring considerable savings. But, the challenge is how to compensate for the loss of dough elasticity and eating quality.
He said DuPont Nutrition & Health is investigating ways to restore elasticity to maintain the desired tortilla diameter.

One obvious method is to subject the dough to more pressure during pressing. The drawback of this approach, however, is that it will often result in a tortilla with an irregular shape​,” he said.
Alternatively, we have found the use of enzymes can clip the structural proteins and fibres in flour. In this way, the processing aids relax the dough, giving it the elasticity required to press it out to the standard diameter​.

Fat-reduced tortillas

Eating quality is also critical, as the fat provides the soft, moist feel that turns such flatbreads into a pleasant, sensory experience. This is where emulsifiers make a difference by forming a complex with amylose, one of the two starch fractions. The emulsifier, which is widely used in bread, has a crumb softening effect that consumers perceive as fresh and moist​.”
The company has tested a number of emulsifiers and enzymes to make a customized blend for fat-reduced tortillas. The blend should be used in addition to an ingredient for optimising tortilla softness and flexibility, and extending shelf life.

Examples include DuPont Danisco enzymes to extend shelf life and add texture; and Powerflex for tortilla baking. While reducing the stickiness of the dough, this enzyme gives tortillas long-lasting freshness and improved flexibility, added Simonsen.

TIA, based in Arlington, Virginia, is a not-for-profit organization created in 1990 to serve the emerging tortilla industry, now the fastest growing segment of the baking industry. Members include tortilla manufacturers, industry suppliers and distributors.

TIA also addresses management, regulation, quality control and distribution issues, and provides members with educational support through technical seminars, conventions and market research.

The next TIA Annual Convention & Trade Expo will be held at the Paris, Las Vegas hotel from May 1-2, 2017. Nominations are open for the next Tortilla Industry Association Hall Of Fame candidates. Deadline for entries is April 1, 2017.

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