- Goya Foods is investing $80 million into its manufacturing and distribution facility in Brookshire, Texas, according to an announcement from the company.
- The food manufacturer will use the money to purchase new food processing equipment and double the production capacity of the facility to meet increased demand for its products.
- Goya has benefited from the growing consumption of ethnic foods and a resurgence in home eating during the coronavirus. The company recently found itself embroiled in controversy when Goya CEO Robert Unanue praised President Donald Trump.
The fortunes of many store brands have been looking up in recent months as the pandemic pushes consumers to rely on shelf-stable products and seek out familiar legacy offerings.
In a statement announcing the expansion of the Texas facility, Goya said it is seeing “increased consumer demand for our products from all consumers across the United States and abroad.” Nielsen data previously sent to Food Dive backed up the company’s claim that demand for the products it sells is skyrocketing. Beans – one of Goya’s broadest segments – posted 82.1% growth and rice sales increased 84.5% for the nine weeks ended June 1.
According to experts, center-of-the-store growth will be a lasting trend as cash-strapped consumers seek budget-friendly recipes and people continue to spend more time cooking at home for the foreseeable future. "We believe we have expanded the consumer base," Joe Perez, senior vice president at Goya Foods, said this summer.
To cater to that base, the company is expanding a facility that it says is the “prime hub” for the manufacturing and distribution of its products in the West. As the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the U.S., Goya is ideally positioned to cater to a growing ethnic population and consumers as a whole who are incorporating more ethnic products into their meals.
With more than half of consumers (55%) eating at home more frequently since the pandemic began, according to the marketing agency Acosta, the majority of them are looking for innovation and new products to keep their meals exciting. One of the ways to accomplish this is by introducing ethnic flavors into cooking routines. As international flavors have become more popular in the U.S., consumers have sought out ethnic food with a particular interest in Latin flavors.
Goya not only provides options for consumers seeking authentic Latin ingredients, but it does so in a way that is affordable. The focus on good value will be a top trend that defines success in the “new normal,” according to a Mattson survey.
Goya has steadily expanded since 1936 to become a market leader in Hispanic foods by adapting to trends and catering to changing consumer tastes. A few years ago, Goya opened four new facilities and doubled the size of another one after expanding its portfolio in 2015 to include more organic offerings as part of a $500 million strategy to embrace the brand's cultural ties with the U.S. Hispanic population.
Market dynamics will undoubtedly play a part in helping define Goya's future and whether a doubling of capacity at the Texas plant will be needed in the long term. However, trends are not the only factor that can determine consumer interest in a brand. In response to the praise of the president by Goya's CEO, the phrase #BoycottGoya quickly started to trend as consumers criticized him for supporting a leader who they believe hurt Latin Americans and immigrants with his controversial immigration policies.
While there is little evidence this permanently damaged the brand’s image, keeping a pulse on changing consumer preferences both in and out of the kitchen is worth Goya’s attention. It will help dictate not only what flavors and options consumers are looking for on shelves but also the sort of brands they are looking to support with their wallets.