Goya Foods, Inc., is expanding its current production facility on a 130-acre campus west of Houston where it makes more than 2,500 foods from Mexico, Central and South America, Spain and the Caribbean. The project, to be completed next year, will nearly double the existing 380,000-square-foot facility, according to a company statement on Food Manufacturing.
Most of the 324,000 additional square feet will consist of production and distribution warehouses, a production office and auxiliary buildings. It will also add 29 new dock doors for domestic and international distribution. The current plant was built in 2014 and features ultra-modern processing equipment, including a hydrostatic bean-cooker and cannery operation that can produce more than 1,000 cans per minute.
"With the growing need for good nutrition, it's an opportune time for Goya to expand," Goya Foods President Bob Unanue said in a company statement. "For more than 81 years, Goya has not only positioned itself as a leader in the Latin American food industry and a trusted American brand, but as an iconic symbol of the Hispanic culture."
The privately held, family-owned company was founded by Unanue's grandfather in 1936 in New York City. It is now based in Jersey City, New Jersey, where the Unanues cut the ribbon in 2015 on a $127-million headquarters and production plant. Goya Foods, which has about 3,500 employees, also has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Spain, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and is reportedly working on a $500-million, multi-year global expansion. In 2014, Goya opened new facilities in Texas, California and Georgia.
While the company doesn't discuss its earnings, annual sales are estimated to be in the range of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes. One reason is the successful advertising campaign the company launched a few years ago marketing some of its key products directly to non-Hispanics. Forbes reported that the strategy helped propel Goya past the $1 billion sales mark in 2012.
Goya's growth parallels the rise in the U.S. Hispanic population, estimated at 57.5 million in 2016 — or about 18% of the nation — and stems in part from the increasing interest in foods from Hispanic cultures. U.S. sales of Hispanic foods and beverages are expected to hit $11 billion in 2017, up from more than $8 billion in 2012, according to Packaged Facts.
While Goya is a top and trusted brand along the East Coast — and known for relatively cheap yet high-quality products — the Texas plant expansion is expected to help the company reach new consumers and strengthen the brand throughout the U.S. and in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Goya was in a fortunate position in the 1980s to take advantage of the growing Hispanic foods trend. Since then, the company has reached out to the Indian, Thai and Chinese communities to supply them with common meal staples such as rice, beans and spices. Goya's products are also sold alongside non-ethnic beans, rice and seasonings in U.S. supermarkets. As a result, the company has reportedly been called "a United Nations kind of label." Because of its growth potential, it is considered an attractive acquisition — though Unanue has said the family is not interested in selling.
Goya is not the only U.S.-based player in the Hispanic foods market, but it is the most successful. General Mills has the Old El Paso brand, while companies such as Hormel Foods, Campbell Soup and B&G Foods have diversified into ethnic offerings by buying up smaller companies — La Victoria, Pace Salsa and Ortega, respectively.
Goya carries more of an air of authenticity, as well as a product line that is not necessarily ethnic cuisine. It has the capital to judiciously increase both geographic distribution and brand recognition. This latest Texas expansion project looks to be one more step forward on a productive path.