U.S. TORTILLA MARKET TOPS $1.5 BILLION ANNUALLY
By Daniel Lopez, THE SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL
Manuel Gonzales is a veteran of a war most Americans have never heard of.
The war Gonzales, 65, battled in the early 1970s isn’t told in history books because his war was silent for the most part, waged in the back rooms of Mexican markets and bakeries.
It was the "Tortilla Wars" he fought — from 1971 to 1976 when corn reigned supreme and so did whomever sold the most tortillas.
At the peak of the battles, Gonzales, who started selling tortillas in 1968, was rolling out 18,000 a day.
"It was so competitive," he says, recalling when corn tortillas went for a dime a dozen. "There were people coming in and cutting each other’s prices."
Those were the dark days of the tortilla industry for Gonzales, owner of D’La Colmena Mexican Food Products on West Lake Avenue, and others who were wholesalers at the time.
"You could barely stay in business," said Gonzales.
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