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A new generation of authentic Latino foods is emphasizing pure ingredients, vivid flavors and lighter recipes, according to Latino Foods: The Next Wave Culinary Trend Mapping Report by the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts. In contrast to heavier, higher-fat Tex-Mex fare now integrated into American eating, emerging food trends from the Caribbean and Central and South America point to foods altogether more healthful and flavorful.
Driving the wave. Multiple drivers are propelling this new wave of Latino food forward
in the U.S., beyond the growing and diverse Latino population now at roughly 15%,
which is projected to rise to 25% by 2050. While Latinos seek to connect to their
heritage through these regional foods, other Americans look to authentic recipes in an
increased desire for original and fresh flavor.
“Just as Pan-Asian foods have brought new flavor and ingredient excitement to the
American plate and palate, now it’s time to make way for Pan-Latin,” says Kimberly
Egan, CEO of CCD.
New ingredients from diverse sources. The Mexican herb epazote, Yucatecan sour
Seville oranges and mild Peruvian aji amarillo chiles are now flavoring restaurant fare
and gourmet recipes. Mexican cheese and soft corn tortillas are transforming taco night
into something more culturally authentic.
Authentically healthful. This authenticity is also naturally healthier. The everyday
foods of Latin America don’t relay as much on fat and instead use fresh ingredients for
flavor. Think ultra-fresh tableside guacamole or lime-kissed rotisserie chicken. Olive-oil
based Puerto Rican sofrito is the foundation of myriad regional dishes.