Influx of Latins in US helps expand diversity of products at grocery stores

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A rise in the Hispanic population in the U.S. helps drive a greater variety of Latino foods at the market. (KABC)

Shopper Dee Ryan is loving the influx of Hispanic foods found at the market.

"Supermarkets now have more and more wonderful products so that I can easily do these things at home," the Burbank resident said.

Since Hispanics are one of the largest ethnic populations is the U.S., it means a plethora of different spices, ingredients and ready-to-eat products for all of us to enjoy.

Art Rodriguez and Steven Chavez who started their Latino Foodie blog four years ago were surprised at the offerings at a local Ralphs.

"Americans are becoming big foodies. They're seeing it on TV. They're rushing out and they're asking their local grocery departments to share with them," Chavez said.

"There was eight shelves worth of salsa or something," said Rodriguez, who checked out the international aisle at Ralphs.

While Ryan likes Ortega's "Fiesta Flats" to easily hold taco salad, Chavez appreciates the availability of Panila and Cotija cheese.

"There's a lot of great packaged, precooked stuff that wasn't available before," Rodriguez said.

He added that making meats "ready-to-eat" is an art form.

"It takes hours to prepare really good Mexican food, and so they're doing all the work for you," Chavez said.

"Also, the empanada rappers that are pre-made, they're frozen. They've saved me a million times," Rodriguez added.

Salsa runs the gamut of flavors and mole is abundant. Also new, the range of dried peppers for scratch recipes. Produce wise jicima has been around, but epazote, Mexican squash, and tomatillo are now common place.

"We use all the time for salsas. Any kind of green salsa, but also you can eat these raw," said Rodriguez of tomatillos.

Over half of Latinos are lactose intolerant so two of their non-dairy beverages have become quite a hit here in the states: aqua frescas and horchatas.

"It reminds me of my childhood. Eating rice pudding and drinking horchata. That's all I did," Rodriguez said.
Related Topics:
foodhispanicfood coachlatino lifeSouth PasadenaLos Angeles County
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