(Nov. 20) LOS ANGELES — Food and beverage suppliers had an opportunity to expose their products to Hispanic retailers, suppliers, distributors and foodservice operators at the second Expo Comida Latina at the Los Angeles Convention Center Nov. 16-18.

This year, 374 exhibitors took part in the expo, an increase from 300 last year, said Lee Graffius, the show’s marketing manager. Several Southern California produce companies exhibited, including World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles; Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Ana; and Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard.

Five thousand people preregistered for the event, Graffius said. She estimated total attendance at 6,000.

The show featured a keynote address by Andy Unanue, chief operating officer of Goya Foods Inc., the largest Hispanic food company in the U.S., as well as culinary demonstrations and conferences exploring the Hispanic market.

Exhibitors included firms that focus on the Hispanic community as well as “mainstream companies that realize that Hispanics have a tremendous amount of buying power and are very brand-loyal,” Graffius said.

Besides U.S. companies, the show featured exhibits from at least five Latin American countries and regions.

Attendees ranged from small, independent retailers and restaurant owners to major chains and a number of distributors, she said.

Hispanics have become the largest minority in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with 6.6 million living in the Los Angeles area.

Last year’s show was so successful that a similar expo was held in New York Oct. 21-22. New York is home to 3.7 million Hispanics. Expos already have been scheduled in both cities for next October, Graffius said.

This year’s shows were organized by Diversified Business Communications, Portland, Maine.