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Americas the Beautiful

The opportunities in Central and South American culture will make your mouth water.

By Gisela M. Pedroza

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The fastest-growing bread is tortillas, and salsa surpassed ketchup to become America's favorite condiment years ago. You know Latin products are hot, so what's the next big horizonte? The fastest-growing segments of the Hispanic market are people from Central and South America, so pupusas and chimichurri sauce might soon find their way onto your menu, too. With so many nostalgic Latin expatriates and their descendents living in the States-not to mention other Americans with exotic palates-manufacturing, importing and distributing authentic Latin American food products typically not available here is a great opportunity.

"The Latino community is a continental community," says Alex Lopez Negrete, president of Lopez Negrete Advertising, a Houston firm that helps corporations like Bank of America, Tyson Foods and Wal-Mart make profitable, relevant overtures to the Hispanic consumer segment. Hispanics living in the United States (of which there are 35.3 million, according to the 2000 Census) maintain connections to their countries of origin even if they were born and raised here, frequently traveling back and forth to visit their families there. They also regularly purchase items to send back to their families, including household goods such as electronics and housewares.

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