News Column

Thriving Demand for Latino Food Products Compels First-Ever Tradeshow

October 4, 2002

LOS ANGELES (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Hundreds of food, beverage and related products' companies are gearing up for "EXPO COMIDA LATINA, the Hispanic Food and Beverage Show," to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center November 3-5, 2002.

Celebrating the foods, beverages, flavors and brands of the Americas, exhibits will include products for and by the Hispanic market at this industry-only trade show. Exhibiting companies will run the range from fruits and vegetables to tequila ... tortillas to soft drinks ... cheese to salsa.

Buyers from supermarket chains to independent grocery stores and institutions are finding that Hispanic products are moving fast, and if they don't have a large enough selection, customers are taking their business elsewhere. Part of this is due to the new majority populations in Los Angeles and key cities across the nation. Hispanics are expected to hold the majority position by 2010 in Los Angeles, and many say it is already so. Another reason is, as EXPO COMIDA LATINA Show Director Denyse C. Selesnick likes to call it, "the Latinization of the American tastes."

According to Selesnick, the time is ripe for this exhibition that seeks to tap the almost $600 billion worth of buying power of the 35 million Hispanics across the United States.

Proportionately, Hispanic households spend more on groceries, desserts, soft drinks and perishables than other demographic groups.

Most restaurants have some type of "Nuevo Latino" dishes on their menus. What used to be considered exotic fruit like mangos are now mainstream. Most retailers carry fresh chiles and other kinds of vegetables imported from Latin America. Food service institutions like hospitals and schools are also including dishes with a Latin flavor on their menus.

Exhibitors already on board range from international to national companies including mainstream businesses who wish to capture a larger share of the Hispanic market, Hispanic companies who are eager to get their products sold to mainstream retailers and Latin producers who want to export to the United States.

Mexico has a large representation at the EXPO with approximately six Mexican States having individual pavilions. Jalisco, one of the primary agricultural centers in Mexico, will have the largest representation including fruit and vegetable growers, tequila, candy and other types of processed food. Guatemala will also have a sizeable pavilion as well as companies from El Salvador and Costa Rica.

Seminars focusing on increasing sales will feature experts in multicultural marketing. From basic statistics and future predictions about the U.S. Hispanic market to the intricacies of selling to multi-generational customers, these interactive seminars will provide insight into the Hispanic market and provide actionable advice on doing business with this "majority" minority.

Dr. Felipe Korzenny, Principal of Cheskin Market Research and Consulting, will discuss how to increase sales to the Hispanic consumer. Ellis Cha, Executive Director of the Korean American Grocers Organization (KAGRO) says, "This exhibition is helping to build bridges from the Hispanic community to my members."

EXPO COMIDA LATINA will also address the commercial food service sector -- Latino and non-Latino restaurants. Several cooking demonstrations will be given in the exhibit hall each day. Well-known chefs will utilize ingredients from the exhibitors in demonstrating recipes. With more and more retailers selling cooked food and some even establishing "cooking to order" sections, this will help generate new ideas. Chef LaLa (well known culinary expert Laura Diaz) will chair this important part of the program, which will include a cooking contest using exhibitor products.

Registration and seminars are free to members of the industry. Exhibitor list and full seminar schedule as well as registration and housing forms can be found in both English and Spanish at www.expo-comida-latina.com.



Source: Copyright (C) 2002 Business Wire. All Rights Reserved.


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