The Influence Of Hispanic Culture On US Food Trends

Discover How Hispanic Culture Is Impacting Food Trends In The US


VRTC’s Tasty Takeaways:

  • Many Millennials and Generation Z are Hispanic so Food Trends reflect the culture of these Trendsetters or their friends.
  • The influence of Hispanic Culture on US Food Trends has grown tremendously and is seen now in many aspects of US culture.
  • The Food & Food Trends inspired by Hispanic Culture are making Multicultural the new normal in the US.

First things first let’s get one item out of the way on our menu of topics: Ice Cream Burritos. HOT or NOT?

It’s been what seems like ages since the birth of Nachos, arguably one of the greatest contributions to the Snacking Culture of the US, so much so Americans consume 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips along with pounds and pounds of cheese for Nachos alone over the course of the big game weekend that only comes once a year. One could argue we’re now just starting to see the same reflected in Avocado becoming such a popular ingredient for trendy toasts to good ol’ guacamole despite being enjoyed by US Hispanics in America for such a long period of time. Although Hispanic Culture has made many contributions to what is now standard American cuisine it makes sense that this influence has seen a tremendous spike only recently as our latest article will reveal

Millennial and Generation Z Food Trend Trendsetters Channel Culture and Connectivity

Connectivity is the keyword in summarizing Food Trends. There is a connection with everything. Most of the trendsetters setting the countless amounts of new Food Trends we see invented before our very eyes each week on social media are Millennial and Generation Z consumers. With that being said almost 1/3 of Millennials are Hispanic and just as many in Gen Z are as well. With these numbers in mind it makes sense that they would hold sway on these Food Trends if not by the sheer amount of these consumers being avid users and adopters of new social media trends and platforms then by the fact that these consumers would be natural influencers and trendsetters anyways given that there is a greater likelihood that non-Hispanic trendsetters would be immersed in the culture of these Hispanic Millennials and Gen Z consumers by association as friends. Once again Connectivity is king.

So what are these Hispanic Food Trendsetters connecting to in the latest food trends? Both nostalgic and modern flavors and approaches. Whether you’re a fan of “unicorn” or “rainbow” cuisine several traditional Hispanic Foods have been adapted by trendsetters to make the most of these trends by channeling nostalgic treats like elotes and quesadillas and fusing them with these trends to great effect. Overall the reoccurring theme seen in all the most buzzworthy foods is connecting back to childhood treats either they enjoyed or that these trendsetters saw their friends enjoying and adopting them to what is popular now or at times fusing two classics together to create a new one like spicy corn snacks being used a crunchy element or coating for traditional snacks to take them to create an entirely new and yet familiar eating experience that engages the senses even if you’re gazing at it on Facebook or Instagram (because we still eat with our eyes first) as seen in this “spicier take” on a traditional elote. Whether we’re celebrating #MargaritaMonday, #TacoTuesday or even #TequilaTuesday, #TortaTuesday, #TostadaTuesday, #TequilaThursday, #TortaThursday, #TostadaThursday, or even #FajitaFriday and #FlautaFriday we’ve got a hashtag and day for everything and we’re coming together as Americans to both connect all of these days in the average American workweek with Hispanic American Culture, Food and Cuisine and celebrate it!

Hispanic Cuisine in The US is No Longer an Exotic or Foreign Cuisine: It’s American Cuisine

Traditional Foods and Ingredients enjoyed in Hispanic and Mexican-American culture are no longer exotic or foreign in the US. They’re American as Apple Pie. Literally. In recent Summer celebrations over the past decade the purchase and enjoying of traditional ingredients and foods has only grown significantly with each passing year. From Chips and Salsas of all colors to the aforementioned Avocado (over $65 million dollars worth purchased and enjoyed during the last 4th of July alone) to cuts of meat (beef cuts prepared as for Tex Mex style Fajitas and even more adventurous foodies going for beef barbacoa, pork carnitaschicharron and more traditional preparations) to smaller dishes like Flautas (or the more familiar name Taquitos) to brunch favorites like breakfast tacos and burritos, Huevos Rancheros, Chilaquiles, Menudo and Posole and even drinks and desserts getting a spotlight with Tequila sales spiking during Memorial Day and the 4th of July to Churros being a common State Fair treat in all 50 states.  All of these dishes are now tied to everyday aspects of daily American life and culture in the US even outside the holidays.

Once again this makes sense given the rise in the Hispanic American population in the US. As the US Hispanic community grows so too does its influence in everyday life around the US including the identity of American Cuisine and Food Culture. American cuisine is going to reflect what foods are most common around the country as that is what chefs, cooks, foodies and food trendsetters are going to have available to cook and the sale of ingredients in the US reflect this influence from Hispanic-American culture with the purchase of tortillas having grown by over 20% in the last 5 years and spending on Hispanic Foods, Ingredients and visits to Restaurants specializing in this cuisine projected to reach over $20 billion in the US by 2020.

Hispanic Cuisine is making Multicultural the new Normal in the US

Going back to our previous topic it’s not just Hispanics themselves setting the latest Food Trends, many of these Trendsetters have grown-up or live in harmony side-by-side in Multicultural communities where there are many Hispanic Americans present. Even if they did not grow up in Hispanic households eating these traditional foods they still were brought up around it and are using these foods and dishes to bridge many cultures together to make something entirely new and entirely American. Take one of the latest fun, wacky and tasty Food Trends hot on Social Media right now: Rolled Ice Cream Tacos. In a nutshell it’s taking a method of preparing and enjoying ice cream in Asian cuisine and fusing it with an American ingredient (a waffle cone) and presenting it in a way that is entirely Hispanic (a Taco).

This dish in itself is not only pretty to look at, not only tasty and refreshing on a hot Summer day, it’s bringing 3 different cultures together in a format that everyone can enjoy and appreciate. Since a Food like this easily has become a Food Trend on social media it’s not exactly a rarity in fact it makes the case that the US is becoming more Multicultural with each day. All of these foods, all of these elements and ingredients that comprise these dishes and complete these cuisines are becoming so common in American culture that it’s more the creativity, inventiveness and preparation that is gaining notoriety because we’re now so familiar with the individual ingredients. Connecting back to the spicy corn snacks mentioned earlier, they’re also finding use outside of just snacking as a creative way to add a new textural element as well as a both familiar and yet exciting flavor to all sorts of dishes outside of Hispanic cuisine from Japanese/Hawaiian poke or even poke burritos to Italian-American pizza to All-American burgers, it’s bridging so many languages and creating so many conversations due to people’s familiarity with the ingredient and its flavor that makes it work so well when paired with these foods, makes them so cravable and makes them so social media sharable by everyone because it creates experiences people want to share with their friends. Even the concept of a “bowl” was started by the “burrito”. If the bowl represents our country then Hispanic Cuisine and Food is the base, the rice that the future Food Culture of the US is being built upon. Hispanic Cuisine has become a conversation starter for what the future holds for American Culture in the US.

We at VRTC, Inc. hope this information has whet your appetite and made you hungry to become a food explorer yourself and discover how far reaching the influence of Hispanic Culture on US Food Trends has truly grown over the years, how it’s now shaping the Multicultural future of the US and why now is the time we really need to start embracing of this cultural influence in order to start shaping further conversations with these Hispanic influencers and Hispanic Consumers in the US in general. Is there anything you would like to add to the conversation? If so, leave a comment and share your experience. If you enjoyed the article, share it! For further insights (now straight to your email through our monthly newsletter), discussion or inquiries for help in sparking your own product conversations our readers are always free to not just explore but fill out our contact form or simply #AskVRTC.

Sources: Bustle, FoodBeast, Popsugar Latina, Refinery29, Remezcla, Thrillist and WeAreMitu
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