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Founder of My Nana’s Best Tasting Products Josie Ippolito inducted into Tortilla Industry HOF

Photo of Josie Ippolito
Josie Ippolito, president of La Canasta Mexican Food Products & founder of My Nana’s Best Tasting Products. (File Photos/
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

In honor of her lifetime contributions to the tortilla industry, Josie Ippolito, president of La Canasta Mexican Food Products & founder of My Nana’s Best Tasting Products, has been inducted into the Tortilla Industry Association Hall of Fame.

Ms. Ippolito was recognized for her ongoing demonstration of product innovation, business excellence and charitable community involvement, according to a press release.

Ms. Ippolito has given back to the community — most notably her work at the St. Mary’s Food Bank, where she donates 3,000 packages of fresh tortillas every month whereas has provided more than 1 million pounds of tortillas to date.

Also — a portion of the proceeds from select My Nana’s products benefit the Alzheimer’s Association of Arizona, the release states.

“It’s a huge honor to be recognized for my life’s work in the tortilla industry,” Ms. Ippolito said in a prepared statement. “I represent the second generation of a woman-owned business, founded by my parents, both pioneers of the tortilla industry, 60 years ago. Our growth and achievements have been incredible.”

La Canasta Mexican Foods

La Canasta Mexican Foods, the home of My Nana’s Best Tasting products, is celebrating 60 years of business in 2022. Today, under the leadership of Ms. Ippolito, the company has its sights set high on growth, expansion and new product development.

At the Phoenix-based tortilla factory, La Canasta produces 2.5 million tortillas every day. Thousands of pounds of whole kernel corn and flour are processed every hour; then they are made into dough that is pressed and/or sheeted into tortillas.

Next, the tortillas are cooked, cooled and packaged. The whole process has been perfected with state-of-the-art systems of high-tech automated conveyors, ovens, and cooling belts that make it possible to produce nearly 100,000 tortillas per hour, the release states.

“Without the driving force of my mother, Carmen Abril Lopez, and her determination to be a successful Hispanic, woman-owned business we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Ms. Ippolito pointed out. “Being present from humble beginnings and realizing how our business has evolved over the years is amazing.”

In 1962, Richard and Carmen Abril opened La Canasta Mexican Foods in Phoenix, Arizona. Their goal was to supply the Hispanic community in Phoenix with fresh flour and corn tortillas. As word of mouth grew about La Canasta’s delicious authentic tortillas, so did the business, expanding into tortilla chips, salsas and buñuelos.

“It’s incredible to think back on the many dedicated employees we’ve had and how many restaurants and other foodservice establishments have served our authentic tortillas to their customers. I’m also thankful for all of the customers who have supported My Nana’s Best Tasting Products in retail grocery stores. I consider this to be a blessing from God to be celebrating 60 years of success.”

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