who owns goya foods
Source: Goya Foods Facebook

Goya Foods Sees a Spike in Sales, Thanks Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Dec. 8 2020, Updated 10:01 a.m. ET

Goya Foods produces food that's sold in the U.S. and many other countries. The company was in the news in July after CEO Robert Unanue spoke at the White House and praised President Trump. However, the company is in the news again. On Dec. 7, Unanue announced the company's employee of the month. Who owns Goya Foods? Why are the company's sales surging?

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goya foods ceo
Source: Goya Foods Facebook

What is Goya Foods?

Goya Foods is a food producer in the U.S. The company's products are sold in the U.S. and many Hispanic countries. Goya Foods was founded in 1936 by Don Prudencio Unanue and his wife Carolina. Both of them are from Spain. Goya Foods is the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the U.S. and an authentic source of Latin cuisine. 

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Goya Foods provides consumers with over 2,500 high-quality and affordable food products from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain. The Unanue family owns Goya Foods. Goya CEO Robert 'Bob' Unanue, Joseph A. Unanue, and Andy Unanue have active roles in the company. 

According to Forbes, Goya Foods is the 377th largest private American company. The products have grown from only being sold in mom and pop stores and bodegas to national club stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale. Goya Foods has annual revenues of close to $1.5 billion. 

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Why did people boycott Goya Foods?

A section of the U.S. population started boycotting Goya Foods' products this year. The boycott was triggered by a speech from Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue. He spoke at an event at the White House in July 2020 and praised President Trump. He said that the U.S. was “truly blessed” to have “an incredible builder” as president. 

The CEO praising President Trump led to instant backlash and calls to boycott Goya Foods. Unaune’s endorsement of PresidentTrump upset the Hispanic community. Goya Foods largely caters to the Hispanic community, which President Trump has often targeted. 

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President Trump's desire to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico upset the Hispanic community. He also talked about deporting young immigrants. At the time, Democrat leaders, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julian Castro, supported the boycott.

goya foods sales
Source: Goya Foods Facebook
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Why did Goya foods' sales increase sharply?

Amid the boycott, Goya Foods' sales rose sharply. After the calls for a boycott, President Trump and his daughter Ivanka posted photos of Goya products on their social media accounts, which fuelled the controversy. Other conservatives also launched campaigns and offered support.

Goya Foods' sales surged due to the free publicity that the brand got amid the controversy. According to the president of Apex Marketing, Eric Smallwood, a promotion from a sitting president can give brands millions of dollars in media exposure. 

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Also, Goya Foods' sales might have risen due to a change in consumers’ preferences. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers shifted from meat to vegetarian protein sources. Some of Goya Foods' bean products saw increased sales. Some of the sales increased by as much as 400 percent, according to The New York Times

Who is Goya Foods' employee of the month?

On Dec. 7, during an interview on a radio show hosted by Michael Merry, Unanue said that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Goya Foods' “employee of the month” since she helped drive up the company's sales with her criticism. Unanue said, “She was actually our employee of the month ... when she boycotted us, our sales actually increased 1,000 percent.” 

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