Spice Up Profits with More Ethnic Cuisine

Consumers want a wider variety of affordable, hand-held global foods for all dayparts

The growing popularity of global-inspired cuisine among consumers shows no signs of slowing down.


According to Technomic’s 2018 Ethnic Food & Beverage report, 24% of consumers say they’re eating more unique types of ethnic foods and beverages now than they were two years ago. Among those consumers, 46% say it’s because they want to try new flavors/flavor combinations, 37% say it’s because they’ve become more adventurous in what they eat and 25% say it’s because there’s a wider variety of unique/less mainstream ethnic items at the restaurants or stores that they typically visit.

Technomic’s 2017 Flavor report finds that Mexican food is one of American diners’ most favorite cuisines, with 68% of consumers saying they find it to be appealing or extremely appealing.

Portability and affordability

In addition to craving ethnic foods, busy consumers want choices that are portable and affordable—for all dayparts. Convenience store operators can take advantage of consumer cravings by filling warmers and roller grills with a wide variety of options to excite existing customers and attract new ones. Here are a few hand-held and inexpensive ethnic food examples:

  • Consumers fell in love with Tornados by Ruiz Foods more than 15 years ago, and their desire today for these hot roll-ups hasn’t diminished. Made with crispy seasoned tortillas and stuffed with savory meats and cheese melted to perfection, Tornados are perfect for any on-the-go snacking occasion. For c-store operators, Tornados are easily warmed up and displayed on roller grills but also taste great out of the oven or a fryer.  With 12 flavors to choose from, including the newest additions, Chicken Bacon & Cheddar and Meat Lovers Scramble, Tornados are the perfect way to add variety with a bold Mexican twist to c-store foodservice offerings.
  • Two years ago, Ruiz Foods introduced another Latin-inspired food, empanadas, to convenience stores. These handheld snacks come in an assortment of delicious flavors including beef and cheese, chicken and cheese and two breakfast flavors. El Monterey empanadas can be heated in the oven and merchandised in the hot case for up to four hours.  They have grown in popularity among consumers and are a proven hot case winner.

Thinking beyond breakfast

Outside of morning meals, food manufacturers are introducing higher quality burritos targeting consumers who still value convenience but also are willing to pay for premium prepared food. Earlier this year, Ruiz Foods launched a premium line of burritos under a new brand, Three Bold Brothers. These handcrafted burritos feature the highest quality ingredients like grilled prime rib beef, grilled white meat chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, whole black beans and cilantro-lime rice.

With a growing portfolio of global-inspired, handheld and foods at a great value, c-store operators can satisfy hungry consumers who are searching for ethnic fare throughout the day and increase their store’s bottom line at the same time. 

This post is sponsored by Ruiz Foodservice


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