ORLANDO, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores is not the only chain in the market here to devote more space to Latin items.
sting Hispanic food offerings a few years ago when Pueblo Xtra International closed its Xtra Superfood Centers in the region.
Sales of Latin items to supermarkets have jumped about 30% in the last three years, according to specialty food supplier Marjon Specialty Foods in Plant City, Fla.
"It's really rare to go into a grocery store [in Florida] and not find yucca, jicama, malanga and casaba," said Marjorie Poole, national sales manager at Marjon. "Roots are now year- round items for produce departments and many have large varieties of tropical fruits."
At the same time, the manager of Winn-Dixie's newly revamped store near the Orlando airport said he is not as concerned about the local supermarket competition -- the nearest is an Albertson's store -- as he is about the local bodegas.
The manager, a Hispanic, Julio Dalvarez, said there are five stores that cater to Hispanic customers within just 5 miles of his unit. He is constantly checking their prices to make sure his remain "at least competitive" with their's.
Rick Hernandez, vice president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, believes those stores will lose significant business to Winn-Dixie.