"Salsa overtaking ketchup as America's No. 1 condiment," says an article published in October of 2013 by the Associated Press. The Hispanic population encompasses nearly a quarter (17 percent) of the U.S. population, with growth expected to continue, according to a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau. And, the Hispanic population isn't the only one that shows persistent expansion. The U.S. Census also shows that the Asian population has increased 46 percent over the past 10 years; Asians now represent 5 percent of the U.S. population.
So is the growth and presence of both populations influencing the culinary landscape in America? Market research firm, Packaged Facts, had this to say in regards to the importance of the Hispanic market: "The market isn't only the playground of traditional Hispanic food companies like Goya and the Gruma Corporation. Mainstream marketers such as General Mills and Kraft have jumped on the bandwagon as well."
And the proof? General Mills' brand Old El Paso has expanded their line -- recently announcing that Cheesy Nacho and Chipotle Black Bean will be added to its microwave bowl menu. Also, its Helper Bold line will soon feature a Spicy Chipotle Chicken Enchilada. Don't forget breakfast; Dulce de Leche Cheerios, anyone? What's found in the grocery aisle goes on and on with items such as chili, lime-flavored chips from Ruffles, and queso fresco & chipotle flavored cheese from The Laughing Cow.
The influence of Asian culinary culture is having an equal impact on food. According to a report from the Nutrient Data Conference and the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, U.S. eating habits today now reflect more use of soybean, fish, vegetable and rice ingredients. The shift to more Asian-based cuisine also supports the demand for more healthy, fresh options. Consumers can pick up fresh sushi at just about any local grocery store these days. And the shift toward light and gluten-free options that the American diet demands today also makes the Asian cuisine (minus the soy sauce) a more common choice.
General Mills supports the desire for Asian cuisine at home with its Wanchai Ferry line. Even restaurant chain P.F. Chang's now has grocery store meal options for home cooks. In an article published in 2011 by progressivegrocer.com, P.F. Chang's Home Menu brand manager, Rachel Porges, stated that recent surveys show consumers are choosing Asian foods second only to Italian.
Have you noticed an upswing in Hispanic or Asian options at your favorite restaurant or grocery store? Let us know on Twitter.
This post originally appeared on the Food Genius blog.