Tortilla Manufacturing Is the Fastest Growing Segment in the U.S. Bakery Industry

Bakery June 28, 2016
Author: Sergey Avramenko
Head of Global Markets Research Team

Photo: ©  evren_photos / Bigstockphoto 

From 2008 to 2015, the U.S. tortilla market showed steady growth. It expanded from 2.30 billion USD in 2008 to 3.49 billion USD in 2015 with a CAGR rise of +6.1%.

U.S. growth in tortilla consumption is expected to decelerate to +4.4% (currently +6.1%) in the medium term. Despite a slowdown, consumption will continue to grow and be supported by population growth, especially among Hispanics, as well as a continuation in the trend of consumer tortilla consumption preferences.

The tortilla industry has successfully positioned itself into American culture. Tortillas have now become a staple in American cuisine and been driven by the rapidly growing Hispanic population in the United States. Additionally, the rising number of health-conscious consumers has spurred demand due to most tortilla products containing fiber and vitamin B3. U.S. tortilla manufacturing illustrated positive dynamics over the last few years. In 2015, the value of shipments in the industry reached 3.65 billion USD rising with a CAGR of +5.9% from 2008 to 2015. Moreover, tortilla was the fastest growing segment in the bakery industry of America.

The U.S. tortilla market is mainly supplied by domestic production. Due to low trade intensity, imports and exports should not be regarded as strong factors that can influence U.S. market dynamics in the medium term.

Mexico (38 thousand tonnes) was the main supplier of tortillas in the U.S. with 58% share (in physical terms) of total U.S. imports in 2015. It was followed by Canada (13%), India (7%), the Philippines, and El Salvador (3% each). The fastest growing suppliers were Mexico (+15.5% per year) and India (+14.5% per year) from 2007 to 2015. Moreover, Mexico (+18 percentage points) significantly strengthened its position in the U.S. import structure. By contrast, Canada (-15 percentage points) saw its share reduced between 2007 and 2015. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In 2014, the main destinations of U.S. tortilla exports were Canada (34% in physical terms), Australia and Japan (6%). It was followed by Mexico, the Republic of Korea and the Philippines (4% each). The shares exported to Australia (+6 percentage points) and Japan (+3 percentage points) increased while the share sent to Canada (-13 percentage points) illustrated negative dynamics. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

Before 2013 (inclusive), U.S. net exports of tortilla showed growth running a surplus of around 228 million USD. From 2014 to 2015, the surplus was shrinking. In 2015, U.S. tortilla trade surplus dropped to 168 million USD.

Source: U.S. Tortilla Market. Analysis And Forecast to 2020