You might assume that Americans’ favorite cuisine is hot dogs and hamburgers — quite possibly stacked high with multiple patties.
However, an analysis of 4,500 new menu items at major restaurant chains shows that Americans are overwhelmingly craving food from south of the border.
Some of the fastest-growing food items on US menus include birria, chicken taco salad, and dishes that include Tajin seasoning. Americans are even showing a preference for Latin drinks. Tequila is set to overtake vodka as the top-selling liquor. Margaritas have become the most popular cocktail. And ranch water, a beverage made with tequila, is the new #1 menu beverage.
When considering Hispanic population growth throughout the US, these trends start to make sense.
Over the past decade, the Hispanic or Latino population in the US has grown by 23% overall. Meanwhile, some metro areas have experienced a population boom that’s two to three times that rate.
There’s also evidence that Latino communities are growing fastest in cities where there’s not already a Latino community. This shows that demographics are dispersing, rather than concentrating in areas where there’s already a strong Latino population.
What’s for Dinner?
Restaurants have taken notice of this trend. Many restaurants, even those specializing in other styles of cuisine, may add more Latin-American options when updating their menus.
Additionally, expect college campuses to become even more saturated by the likes of Chipotle (CMG) and similar chains. Southwestern food is highly popular among younger generations.
On top of being cheesy, spicy, and delicious, Mexican food also has the advantage of being relatively cheap. For inflation-weary Americans, this is yet another reason to answer “tacos” or “burritos” when asked that age-old question: “What’s for dinner?”
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