Goya Foods Inc., the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, celebrated its 75th anniversary with more than 800 guests and employees at the annual Goya Gala on Dec. 3, which took place at the Teaneck Marriott Hotel at Glenpointe in New Jersey.
Hosted by actor Tony Plana, the event included special performances by Grammy-winning performer Victor Manuelle and Latino dance company Ballet Hispanico. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) presented Goya with a proclamation in tribute to the company’s commitment, dedication, and success. The evening’s celebration was also an opportunity to highlight the hard work and loyalty of Goya employees, with part of the evening’s program devoted to those who have been with the company for more than 20 years.
Goya’s milestone celebration ran throughout 2011 and was distinguished by a variety of corporate and community initiatives. On March 16, the 75th day of the 75th anniversary year, Goya joined with United Way to donate 1 million pounds of food across the country, helping to feed more than 3 million people. The Secaucus, N.J.-based company also rolled out GoyaGives.org, an interactive online campaign to enlist consumers in the fight against hunger. By the end of this year, Goya will have donated more than 2 million pounds of food.
The company additionally hosted a series of nine concerts in six cities with Marc Anthony, Antonio Solis and Ana Gabriel, while donating 75,000 pounds of food to various charities and food pantries in the six concert cities. Other 2011 Goya initiatives included two new scholarship funds for employees and students across the country; a new collection of recipe books; and Puerto Rican scholar and historian Guillermo Baralt’s documentation of Goya’s legacy in a commemorative book, “If It’s Goya, It Has to be Good: 75 Years of History.”
In September, Goya journeyed to the White House and met President Barack Obama to mark the company’s anniversary and Hispanic Heritage Month. Goya was the only company to be recognized for its success and contributions to the nation by the Obama administration.
Further, Goya opened a $44 million, 338,000-square-foot distribution center in south Florida, from which the company will ship its products and those from select foreign brands to the Caribbean, Latin America and even Africa. The largest of Goya’s 16 facilities, the DC can produce 1 million cases of dried beans annually. The company has also expanded and enhanced production facilities in California, Texas, Angola and Spain.
“It has been a memorable and successful year for Goya,” noted Goya President Bob Unanue. “We are so proud and humbled by the overwhelming support and recognition of our 75th anniversary. It’s an incredible feeling, and gives us the confidence and ability to further invest in Goya and the community.”
Founded by Spanish immigrants in 1936 as a storefront in lower Manhattan, Goya has expanded operations to 16 facilities throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Europe; employs nearly 3,500 people; and distributes more than 1,600 authentic Latin American food products.