The new owner of a grocery store in Washington, D.C.’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood renamed it soon after it was purchased, calling it Bestworld. Then he reconfigured the store’s product mix to fit the neighborhood’s changing demographics, adding gourmet chips and high-end beers, and Asian items like wasabi peas and dried seaweed.
But according to a Washington Post story, Suk Pak, who is South Korean, says there was one aisle he kept as is — the one that featured Goya products, with, cans, boxes, bottles and jars of every imaginable bean, grain, sauce, juice and spice. He relies on the Goya salesperson to tell him what he needs to fill the section.
Goya is the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States and is striving to become a food company for all and is even moving into other cuisines, such as Indian and Chinese. It was founded 77 years ago by Spaniards who came to New York via Puerto Rico. Over the years, it has hired enough natives of Spanish-speaking countries to develop a flavor profile that’s decently close to the real thing and has marketed itself as a Hispanic-owned company.
Now, it’s the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, with $1.3 billion in sales last year (still a long way behind market giants like General Mills, which brought in $16.7 billion in 2012).
Goya is now in nearly every corner bodega and medium-size independent grocery store. That enough seems to resonate with Pak, who says, “I’m not Latino. I don’t know what they eat.” But he realizes not only Hispanics will buy the Goya products, but all the neighborhood’s non-Hispanic residents will as well.
“It’s a United Nations kind of label,” says Bob Gorland, a supermarket consultant at Matthew P. Casey & Associates. He regards Goya, more than any other brand, as a section unto itself, much like the kosher aisle or natural foods area. Now, as the “general market” becomes more interested in ethnic cuisines, Goya has positioned itself as the “authentic” option that you don’t have to rummage through ethnic markets to find. In other words, Goya is becoming mainstream. Which, commercially, is a pretty unbeatable approach.
To read the full story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/23/how-goya-brought-ethnic-food-to-white-america/