A new classification for tortillas was established by The Economic Classification Policy Committee of the Office of Management and Budget. Tortillas used to be listed under the category: Food preparations not elsewhere classified, but by the year 1997 this changed. The Committee placed bakeries and tortillerias together under the same category: Food Manufacturing. This was a very important step for the tortilla manufacturing business which, due to its rapid growth, was finally being recognized and has established itself as a sub-category, equivalent to that of bread and bakery-product manufacturing. .
A tortilla is an unleavened flatbread made from either corn or wheat flour. Tortillas have become more popular in the U.S. than all other ethnic breads, such as bagels, English muffins and pita bread. They can be used to hold a variety of fillings, used as tasty food scoops, toasted and topped with salad, or served hot and plain. People from all over the world have incorporated tortillas into their menus, substituting traditional breads such as hot dog buns, lasagna, pitas, sandwiches, pizza, and casseroles. They are no longer for Mexicans to enjoy: Americans are now eating meatball tacos, corned beef on tortillas, spinach salad on a tortilla shell and even a tuna melt on a tortilla. .
In 1995 the Tortilla Industry Association reported that tortilla sales reached $2.5 million mark, and in a recently released study for the year 2002, annual growth for the tortilla industry has reached a record high of $5.2 million. Researchers estimate that the tortilla industry will grow to become a $6 billion industry by the year 2004.
Tortilla sales have cornered 32 percent of the sales for the U.S. Bread Industry, tortillas trail white bread sales by only 2 percent making them the second most popular bread type in America with sales that far surpass those of whole-wheat bread, bagels and rolls.