3 Ideas to Capitalize on America’s Tortilla Chip Cravings

One of the highlights of this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago was Sally Lyons Wyatt’s compelling presentation on the current state of the snacking industry. Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader for market research firm Circana, is one of the food industry’s key thought leaders when it comes to snacking trends. When she talks, the industry listens, and she had quite a bit to say about the tortilla chip category.  

“Tortilla chips have been on fire for several years,” she said. “Consumers love the flavors, they love the convenience, they love the simplicity and they gravitate to that, especially younger consumers. Tortilla chips are still defying the odds and doing quite well.”

The continued success of the tortilla chip category is a much needed highlight for the snack industry, which has recently returned weak numbers amid rising prices. It’s also an opportunity for food manufacturers to capitalize on a category, or in adjacent categories, that are ripe for innovation and new product development.  

Not too many years ago, tortilla chip choices consisted of “yellow” or “white,” and with salsa or without. Today, consumers can choose from a variety of chip formats and flavors, as well as countless queso and cheese sauce options. Continued innovation will be key to the category’s continued success, and the Bluegrass Ingredients team offers three ideas for food manufacturers to capitalize on America’s robust appetite for tortilla chips. 

1. Go All-In on Fruit Flavors

Many of the most recent innovations in the category have come from new fruit-flavored tortilla chips. Products such as Tostitos Hint of Lime, Santitas Cilantro Lime Tortilla Chips and Late July Organic Sea Salt & Lime tortilla chips have all gained market share by introducing a complementary and familiar flavor profile to the category. Bluegrass Ingredients supplies lime juice powders (conventional and organic) and have seen firsthand how a hint of flavor can turn an ordinary tortilla chip into something extraordinary.  

But is lime the only fruit flavor that can break through in the category? We don’t think so, and our Agile Kitchen™ team is working with an array of fruit powders that can star in your next new product development.

What about a pineapple salsa-flavored tortilla chip?

2. Innovate with Dairy Flavors

As we’ve talked about on this blog before, consumers’ love dairy seasonings. And, the tortilla chip category is no stranger to cheesy chips such as nacho cheese and cheddar. However, there is room for innovation in flavor pairings that will appeal to younger snackers that haven’t constrained tortilla chips to a narrowly defined snacking occasion. Here are some ideas. Contact us to get started with formulations.  

We’ve also been working on a cheese and onion seasoning that would find a perfect home on tortilla chips. The seasoning blend uses Bluegrass BDF0361 Cheese Powder, onion powder, dried whey, and some other minor ingredients to deliver the perfect flavor combination.

Contact us for the formula, and don’t forget to ask us about our customization platform, which allows food and beverage manufacturers to work with our R&D team to create custom seasoning blends.

3. Every Chip Needs a Dip

According to this article from Food Navigator, the only thing hotter than tortilla chip sales are dip sales. And one of the only things our Agile Kitchen™ team is versed in more than fruit and dairy seasonings is cheese dips. We can help you create the perfect cheese sauce or dip using our complete line of dairy powders, dairy concentrates and dairy seasoning blends. We even offer a complete line of plant-based powders to capitalize on the growing vegan segment.  

One of our favorite dips we’ve perfected is a Spicy Nacho Cheddar Dip that’s perfect for tortilla chips. The dip uses our Cheddar Concentrate Factor 10 CNC0001 and our Spicy Nacho Dairy Blend to impart the perfect cheesy tangy flavor with just the right amount of heat. 

Whether you’re making tortilla chips or dip (or both!), Bluegrass Ingredients is your formulation partner. Contact us to gain access to our Agile Kitchen™ and start formulating new products today! 

Contact us today to get started!

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