Flour tortilla shell mold, 1987

Azteca Foods followed the health–conscious craze of the 1980’s by offering baked instead of fried shells along with providing healthy and innovative ways to use corn and flour tortillas.
The traditional corn tortilla and the increasingly popular flour tortilla became a significant component in everyday American meals after 1950. As companies tapped into the growing Latino market by mass-producing Mexican as well as Central American and other Caribbean foods, they also produced taco shells, tortilla chips, and frozen burritos, which became staples in grocery chains and convenience stores. By the 1990s, salsa challenged ketchup for condiment supremacy in America.
Chicago entrepreneur Art Velasquez founded Azteca Foods in 1970, which sold Mexican and Central American foods in supermarkets across the country. The company enabled supermarkets to sell more flour and corn tortillas by adding a preservative into the masa (dough) to extend shelf life. He was one of the many entrepreneurs of the 1970’s to move tortillas from an ethnic based product to more of a popular everyday non ethnic product.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall; base: 3 in; 7.62 cm
overall: 3 1/2 in; 8.89 cm
overall; top: 9 in; 22.86 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Azteca Foods
Food Culture
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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