Mainstream adoption of Mexican flavors paves the way for more variety from other Latin American cuisine

With a whopping 87% of Americans reporting they have tried Mexican food, the region’s cuisine is “by far the most consumed Latin cuisine, reflecting not only the availability of Mexican cuisine, but also the profound influence on US food culture,”​ according to a recent Flavor Flash report from T. Hasegawa.

Trailing a distant second among the types of Latin American cuisine that North Americans eat was Cuban with 23% of Americans reporting eating it. Puerto Rican came in third at 18% with Brazilian and Columbian jockeying for Americans attention at 13% and 12% respectively. Rounding out the list, is Peruvian at 8%, Venezuelan at 7% and finally Chilean at 5%.

Despite the significant gap between eating foods and flavors from Mexico and other Latin American regions, T. Hasegawa sees an opportunity for brands, retailers and food service providers to upgrade the 41% of occasional Latin American cuisine eaters to join the 31% who more regularly eat Latin American cuisine.

And the best to place to start is with Millennials and Gen Xers, who already show a stronger affinity for the flavors of Latin American than older Baby Boomers and younger Gen Zers, according to the report.

While Generation X is more likely to expect Latin American flavors on non-Latin menus at 25% compared to just 21% of Millennials, T. Hasegawa reports that “Millennials are the most avid patrons of foodservice, and their interest in menu diversification with Latin foods points to signs that there is room to grow less-frequently consumed Latin cuisines and also that operators have some room for Latin menu innovation.”

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