Close the border gates, cancel the DREAM Act, and torpedo immigration reform, because salsa sales have overtaken ketchup, screams the banner headline on the Drudge Report Thursday afternoon. The massive, all-caps splash (with an image of a sombrero overtop) links to an Associated Press story that notes that the salsa news, still just barely sinking in, is "just the start."
"These days, tortillas outsell burger and hot dog buns; sales of tortilla chips trump potato chips; and tacos and burritos have become so ubiquitously 'American,' most people don't even consider them ethnic," the AP's Suzette Laboy and J.M. Hirsch write. It's just another indicator of the changing demographics in a country that is now a quarter Hispanic.
But, as is turns out, salsa overtook ketchup over 20 years ago, and this is just the latest in long line of stories using culinary sales as a marker of demographic change.
As the New York Times reported way back in 1992: "ketchup, long the king of American condiments, has been dethroned. Last year, salsa ... took the condiment crown, outselling ketchup by $40 million in retail stores." David Weiss, the president of New York-based Packaged Facts Inc., the same market-research firm that the AP's quotes in its 2013 story, told the Times back then that "the taste for salsa is as mainstream as apple pie these days."