Goya In Three Boycotts
Goya is a giant in the united states. Food industry today. The company is worth over one billion dollars and employs over four thousand people in dozens of factories throughout the country and abroad. It's also a staple in latino homes across the us. Pino is a huge part of goya's consumer base after goya foods. Ceo robert hunan away spoke in the white house rose garden last summer. Producer governor elevator be realized. She had a lot of questions about the brand receiving. All of this attention gabardine started digging into goya itself. The family behind the brand and some of the past controversies that the company has weathered through governors reporting. She discovered a common theme repeating itself over the years. Something bigger than any single news. Headline goya is more than pantry. Staples and spices to its customers. Specifically it's latino customers for many that the united latina's goya is like a badge of identity. So that's a pretty tall order for a company a gabby and welcome to the show. Hi maria so tell us what happened that you were like I need to spend some more time thinking about goya food products and that this led you down a rabbit hole so yeah before the boycott i had no idea who the union-wide family was. I grew up with goya beans but didn't know or never really thought about how. This company became a symbol of latino identity in the us. Clearly it wasn't about how much people love their beans adobo. It was something much deeper than that. Goya evoke emotions for many latinos and in researching goya. I found three separate boycotts spanning decades. Were goya's carefully crafted. Image as a symbol of latino identity was thrown into question. One in miami. One in new york and puerto rico and the other one from the summer and together. They helped not so rosy story about this powerful company. But before i jump in. It's important to understand. The history of the brand in how the unanimous family used their immigrant background to craft their business image. Okay so we know that. Goya was founded in the nineteen thirties. By on prudence your own anway and his wife catalina and don't pull. The nco was actually a merchant from spain right. He arrived in puerto rico from spain and nineteen o two then moved to the united states and started a small business in new york city importing goods from spain. That business eventually became goya foods rubber yunan way goya's currency. Eeo often tells his grandfather's story he mistakes from home and he. He had an idea that other immigrants also mistake from home done. Prudencio started importing goods like olive oil and other hand fish products to his shop on the lower east side serving the spanish emigrant community but then ends up being really Latino brand for the entire population. I mean it grows and this is their primary. Customers are latinos and latinas. So tell us the story of how don't do the answer becomes so successful in expanding this business after world war two. Us factory owners took advantage of the depression in puerto rico to outsource cheap labor from the island and in the span of just one year the puerto rican population in new york city nearly quadrupled from thirteen thousand to over fifty thousand people. I spoke with puerto rican food historian professor crews miguel ortiz quadra. About how you non capitalized on this. Migration wave to grow his business. The political and economical racial love voting Rico in the nineteen forties. These open a huge door Success of goya foods huntington bank element with Habits was historic. Make no mistake immigrant himself or not. I know that this big i migrated would throw with. Its foot my maurice food memories. I mean that's a great concept right this notion of you know eating rice and beans as a kid or or you know making fresh tamales over the holidays with your family. I mean there is this thing memories and we all have them yeah. It's this idea. That food is personal. Professor ortiz quadra often refers to this term food or palate memories. I coined the term in his book eating puerto rico and he uses this concept to describe the intimate bond with food formed by cultural and historical practices. So this idea that the food we eat reflects our values choices and culture and its central and understanding. Goya's rise so more. Puerto ricans moved into new york city and there was the experience of racism and xenophobia. That a lot of outside communities experience puerto ricans are not immigrants right because they're just moving from one part of the united states to another part of the united states but as it was in new york city that wasn't welcoming to many puerto ricans that increases the need for food to be a place where you find solace and comfort right exactly for this. Oh so important. If can't trace you back to your homeland the To the homeland and to the foot try and so forth in the diaspora done prudencio. Continue to build goya. The city's growing emigrant community from latin america. He knew that capitalizing on food memories was a powerful business strategy.