Goya continues to feed people in the Bronx and nationwide

Employees of Goya donating food
Photo courtesy Goya

While the restaurant industry is suffering, most owners can’t make the transition to take out and delivery and are forced to close all together. However, supermarket sales continue to increase dramatically due to at-home cooking.

One company that has continued to supply grocery stores with inventory during the COVID-19 crisis is Goya Foods. Goya is making sure Broxnites who struggle with food insecurity and aren’t sure where their next meal will come from will have full stomachs.

Goya Foods, based in Jersey City, New Jersey has donated more than 200,000 pounds of food and 20,000 protective masks to high-risk areas. Employees are working 24/7 nationwide and pushing out as much product as possible in a day.

“I’m really proud of our employees,” said Bob Unanue, president of Goya Foods. “We call it the Goya family.

 

Goya has kept up with the overwhelming demand for products in supermarkets and food retailers. In March, sales quadrupled and it distributed more than 23 million cans of beans to retailers, with the number doubling in less than a week.

There has also been an increase in all Goya pantry staples including rice mixes, flour, all condiments, canned meats and vegetables, nectars and coconut water.

Unanue, 66, a third generation owner, has been with the company for 45 years, but unofficially began at age 10, when he used to come with his dad Anthony. He explained Goya has experienced localized disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy and David and 9/11, but not something as unknown as this. However, “this is not their first rodeo,” he said.

“This epidemic it’s worldwide,” he said. “It’s unprecedented. It’s historic.”

Since his company has been deemed essential, his staff has been full steam ahead.

“They’ve come to work sacrificing and at the same time wanting to help,” Unanue said. “A lot of companies haven’t been able to respond as we have. Many times we were the only product on shelves in our category.”

Unanue explained that even in financially unstable areas in the Bronx that are filled with food deserts, Goya is cheap, comforting and easy to cook. With many people now in debt due to medical expenses, funerals or loss of work, food should be the least of their concerns, he commented.

According to Unanue, his company can sustain the epidemic, but many others won’t. He painted a bleak picture for businesses when things return to normalcy. He hopes the country and state open their economies back up sooner rather than later. If not, he said that the doom and gloom will continue even after the confirmed cases and deaths decrease.

“Everyone’s going to have to adapt,” Unanue said. “We need to go back to business. The show must go on.”

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