Why is lime flavor suddenly everywhere?

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Get the full story on PRI’s The World

If you go to any grocery store in America today you will most likely find something — chips, soda, beer, or even condiments — that are “hint of lime” or “con limon.”

Now it’s cucumber-lime flavored Gatorade at the 7Eleven, even a whole section of supposedly Latino-themed beers — all with lime.

“Now you got not only the American companies coming in,” says comedian Adrian Villegas, standing in an Austin 7Eleven aisle, “but now you have Mexican companies with [fruit-flavored] Modelo Chelada. You’re already a Mexican beer and you’re trying to make it more Mexican.”

Fellow comedian Guillermo De Leon agreed.

“Five years ago I was in the store and I was looking for Mayonnaise and McCormick has mayonesa and it’s mayonnaise with a little bit of lime in it,” De Leon says, “and I thought that was interesting, it was the first time I’ve seen anything specifically targeted.”

After the success of mayonesa, American brands realized there was a whole market of Mexicans and Central Americans who were ready for a hint of lime on almost any food product. “It’s a very cultural thing… it’s ingrained in the traditions. It’s very common to see lime at the table,” says Korzeny.

And it’s a lucrative market: Last year Latino Americans spent $1.5 trillion on consumer products in the US.

But Latino Americans are not the only consumers of lime flavoring, the whole country has hopped on board. The owner of the Austin 7Eleven can barely keep his lime products in stock.

“I’m running low on that flavor, I’m waiting for my next shipment in, so the chips, the hybrid Doritios … Is it Latino kids buying them? No, it’s all kids.”

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