La Tapatia Tortilleria

Fresno, California

Company Profile In 1969, Helen Chavez-Hansen acquired a piece of equipment that made corn tortillas from a local grocer and started a small operation to supplement her income as a clerical worker.  Today, her tiny factory has transformed into La Tapatia Tortilleria, Inc., a multi-million dollar business. The company’s main facility in Fresno, California now has 50,000 square feet in production space and 25,000 square feet of warehouse space.  Through the years, La Tapatia has remained true to its roots, producing quality corn and flour tortillas and tortilla chips. In their quest to expand and reach new markets, La Tapatia recently added a healthier line of their staple tortillas that include gluten free, organic, whole wheat and low-carbohydrate options.  Their primary brand, “La Tapatia” now claims over a dozen products and in 2012, La Tapatia Tortilleria was inducted into the Tortilla Industry Association Hall of Fame. La Tapatia Tortilleria continues to be a family-run business and their products can be found at various locations throughout California and the world.

Exports La Tapatia Tortilleria’s international reach has made it a unique player in the tortilla business, the fastest growing sector of the baking industry. As an experienced exporter, La Tapatia products can be found in several countries including Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, Canada and Hong Kong. Korean consumers enjoy using the La Tapatia’s flour tortilla to make dishes such as quesadillas, burritos, and pizza. Major Korean companies such as Lotte World and Everland Resort also purchase La Tapatia’s delicious chips to sell to customers. The chips are also a favorite among Korean moviegoers who enjoy them with melted cheese and jalapeños.

Growth La Tapatia Tortilleria was selected to produce tortilla chips by a private label customer in Korea because of the high quality of ingredients. La Tapatia has earned an impressive 70% of the snack food market share in Korea and expects a 20% growth increase over the next two years.  In fact, exports to Korea have risen exponentially from two containers a month in its infant stages to seven containers a week! La Tapatia’s primary customers and partners in Korea include retail and grocery stores, movie theaters and restaurants. Since the implementation of the U.S.- Korea Free Trade Agreement, La Tapatia has enjoyed a streamlined trading process, an increase in profitability, and business opportunities, as well as lower tariffs.

Lesson Learned For La Tapatia, one of the secrets to their ongoing relationship with Korea is having a true understanding of Korean culture and business practices. The company also finds that efficiency is key and that it helps to understand the food regulations that are unique to Korea. Overall, La Tapatia strengthens their trade relationship with Korea by ensuring top-quality products and services as well as keeping lines of communication open.

“Our business partners in Korea truly enjoy our products and we are pleased that the KORUS FTA has allowed us to strengthen our relationship with them.”

~Maylinn Xu, Senior Export Coordinator