"Tortillas are the fastest growing bread product in the world. They have found their place in the American mainstream diet and are no longer considered an ethnic food," stated Irwin Steinberg, Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) Executive Director, Dallas, Texas.

According to TIA's State of the Tortilla Industry Survey 2000, U.S.tortilla sales totaled more than $4 billion in wholesale value, representing a growth rate of 57 % over the past four years. Tortillas are the second top--selling product in the packaged bread category.

Last year, Americans consumed 4 billion pounds of corn and 3 billion pounds of flour tortillas. This is equivalent to 84 billion tortillas or rapidly approaching one tortilla per American each day. Per capita tortilla consumption is 9 pounds. The two most powerful factors driving this growth are the increasing tortilla consumption by non--Latinos and the growing Latino population in the United States.

The demand for an expanded selection of flavors of tortillas is growing; flavors such as jalapeno, tomato and cheese are expected to be some of the best selling varieties in the coming year.

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