Former CEO of Secaucus, New Jersey based Goya Foods, Inc. – Joseph Unanue passed away on June 12th at age 88. Mr. Unanue was credited with taking Goya Foods from a small distributor of Puerto Rican specialty foods into the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the US.
Under his leadership, Goya rose from $8 million in sales in the mid-1970’s to $750 million in 2004.
He acted as a pioneer in the Hispanic food market in the US when he widened Goya’s product lines to recognize the varying tastes of Hispanic immigrants from the Caribbean, South America and Mexico. An obituary in The Wall Street Journal, quoted Mr. Unanue’s son Andy Unanue as saying that one of his father’s favorite quotes in reference to the Hispanic market was:
“We’re united by language. We’re separated by the bean.”
As CEO, he led Goya Foods to be the first major food company to deliver different beans such as red, black or refried to Hispanics that consumed them. Prior to that, Hispanics were at the mercy of small locally grown farms or were forced to change their culturally influenced diets to adapt to what was available in their area.
Goya Foods now stretches from New Jersey to California, and from Mexico, Central America, and South America to Spain. The company distributes more than 2,000 products and has 15 manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide.
Sam McCorkle is an executive search consultant and the practice leader of AgriFind Executive Search. Sam’s decade plus career in executive search is reinforced by prior sales leadership experience with Ralston Purina. Sam leverages the boutique research and consulting expertise within The QualiFind Group to provide world class search services to clients in the US and Mexico. Sam is based in St. Louis, Missouri and can be reached at (314) 283-8596
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