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So You Think You Know Hispanic Produce?

Take our quiz to find out!

The numbers are impressive: Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority in the United States, with 53 million men, women, and children representing 17 percent of the nation’s total population according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 2050, this number is supposed to reach 132.8 million, primarily composed of Hispanics of Mexican, Puerto Rican, El Salvadorian, and Cuban descent.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that the influx of Hispanic immigrants and generations of Latinos already established here are having a major impact on food retailing, consumption, and shopping habits across the United States. One only has to look at the booming popularity of avocados, mangos, tomatillos, and chile peppers.

“The Hispanic population has grown faster than anyone expected in the last decade,” says April Batriz, general manager of Nogales, AZ-based B.J. Brothers Produce, which specializes in hot peppers, Roma tomatoes, and tomatillos. “Hot peppers aren’t just for Hispanics anymore—serranos and jalapeños are popular commodities across the board. Everyone wants them.”

Fausto Alvarez of Miami-based Presidente Supermarkets and Cuba Tropical, Inc., agrees, noting the tremendous increase in the Latino population has influenced what other groups eat and where they shop. “U.S. supermarket chains have to sell whatever people are looking for, and increasingly they’re looking for Latin products and produce.”

There’s even a trade event dedicated to showcasing and promoting Hispanic foods and beverages. The only tradeshow of its kind in North America, Expo Comida Latina features hundreds of exhibitors, from brokers and suppliers to importers, wholesalers, and product manufacturers. The goal is not only to offer a forum in which to meet and greet, but to educate attendees on the latest trends in Hispanic retail and foodservice.

From country to country, Hispanics differ—in expressions, preferences, and, most especially, food. So how much do you really know about Latin fruits and vegetables? You may know Hispanics enjoy rice and beans as a part of their meals, and that Mexicans consume tortillas like Americans eat bread, but did you know Cubans favor galletas and Venezuelans use arepas? In the interest of broadening horizons and sharing a few interesting facts, we put together a true/false quiz to test your knowledge of Latin food. Here are the answers—and don’t worry, we’re not keeping track…

The state of Michoacán is Mexico’s top avocado-producing region.
True – Michoacán outperforms all other states in avocado production. It is, in fact, the largest producer of avocados in the world. During the 2012-13 season, the region exported more than 560,000 tons of the fruit, a 40 percent increase over the previous season. Most avocado exports are destined for the United States, Europe, Asia, and Canada. According to the Mexican government, Michoacán’s avocados are also conquering the Japanese market with 52,000 tons shipped between July 2012 and July 2013.