Last updated on June 6th, 2016 at 03:08 pm
by Sudie Crouch/contributing writer
Marquez Brothers International Inc. is known for authentic, traditional Mexican products in several categories—dairy, canned and dry as well as meat products under several brands, including its El Mexicano® flagship brand. The products are distributed across the U.S., with distribution hubs in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Chicago and Atlanta. Even with its brand recognition from coast to coast, Marquez Brothers’ strongest consumer base is on the West Coast, where the company is headquartered. It was there Lydia Marquez saw the opportunity to do something unique with Marquez’s products: offer healthier options for traditional Mexican fare.
As the marketing director for the family-owned company, Lydia was able to pinpoint the trends among Marquez’s consumers. They indicated that while the first-generation Mexican is still looking for the nostalgia of authentic tastes from Mexico, the second and third generations are looking for healthier alternatives but with the same authentic flavor. That gave her the idea to offer recipes showing El Mexicano brand products being used in healthier, lighter recipes.
“Mexican cuisine can still be done healthy and authentic when using our products,” Lydia said.
One of her favorite products to use is the company’s yogurt, because it’s drinkable and convenient as a great base for smoothies. By pairing the yogurt with fresh fruit, spinach, kale, flax or chia seeds, it becomes an easy way to incorporate healthier options.
“I always like to integrate something from our culture, like cactus; it can be added fresh into smoothies,” she said.
Pickled cactus traditionally is sautéed with onions, but Lydia also uses it to make a salad with olive oil, lemon, cilantro, tomato, onion and fresh cubed Queso Fresco Casero.
She also likes to add raw fresh aloe vera to her smoothies for added health benefits.
“I like to show how to substitute little changes to make a healthy difference. If you’re going to eat a burrito, try a gluten-free tortilla or skip the tortilla and make it a burrito bowl or lettuce-wrap it. I like to offer them different options.”
Lydia also likes to promote vegetarian recipes, using El Mexicano brand cheese as the protein substitute.
“Our cheese is fresh and authentic, with nothing hidden—only quality ingredients,” she said, which makes it a great option for those who worry about added fillers. The cheese also is a good source of calcium and protein.
Lydia’s passion for cooking came from her mother, who had a cooking segment, “Cocina Marquez,” to showcase recipes using El Mexicano brand products from Marquez Brothers. Following in her footsteps, Marquez has been featured in a cooking show on a local cable channel that highlighted some of her healthy alternatives using El Mexicano brand products.
“We have so many different products that I can showcase different ones without it getting redundant,” she said, adding that she is working with the research and development department to find even healthier alternatives.
“Tell me what the need is, and I will tell you how to change it to be a little bit healthier.”
Lydia currently is working on recipes to share with visitors to the company’s website, elmexicano.net. Stay tuned for tasty, easy-to-make, healthier recipes.
This article first appeared in September 2014.