I was at the supermarket earlier today looking for fettuccine, but no luck. For long shape pasta, the only choices were spaghetti and thin spaghetti. There were somewhat more choices for short shape pasta, such as Barilla rigatoni, Best Choice mostaccioli and… Goya rigatoni?
A bag, 16 ounces, Goya rigatoni, for $1.09. Two months ago, I would’ve snapped it up. But in July, barely five weeks ago, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue made some very unfortunate and regrettable remarks which he should regret, but doesn’t.
So a boycott began, and I started to find out just how pervasive the Goya Foods brand is. They don’t just can beans. They also have some products in their catalog that Donald Trump would actually eat, like chocolate wafers.
Has the boycott hurt Goya Foods? Or has that been offset by the competing “buycott”? It’s hard to tell. Claire Atkinson reports for NBC News:
Goya has been a big beneficiary this year of consumers’ increased desire for cans and packages of beans. Bean consumption was already on the rise as consumers increasingly shun meat in favor of other protein sources. Then the pandemic hit, and households stocked up. Goya reported that sales of some bean varieties rose by as much as 400 percent, The New York Times reported in March.
So it could be that most of Goya’s core customer base has already stocked up, and they’re probably all too pragmatic to discard what Goya has already been paid for. Still, Goya’s competitors are seeing opportunity.
Nielsen, which includes sales of Latin foods in its grocery tracking, noted that revenue from bean sales in the U.S. rose by 51.1 percent during the 19 weeks through July 11, versus the year prior.
Meanwhile, some rival brands are seeing positive momentum in the days since the Goya boycott. Bill Penzey, chief executive of Penzey’s Spices, headquartered in Milwaukee, told NBC News that his products have seen a boost in interest since the Goya boycott and that he’s considering launching a new Puerto Rican-style Adobo later this year, in part to capitalize on the current opening for alternative spice brands.
“Of the 412 items that we sell, our Adobo seasoning was 75th in popularity and in the week since [the Goya boycott], it’s moved to 40th,” he told NBC News at the time of the boycott.
“I think they [Goya Foods, are] going to be in for some trouble,” said Penzey of Goya’s long-term sales. “A change of leadership and a public apology. I think that will be coming.”
Steve Sando, president of heirloom bean seller Rancho Gordo, based in Napa, California, told NBC News that sales are already up 150 percent this year — but “this just adds to it,” he said, adding that he saw sales spike by between 7-10 percent in the wake of the Goya fracas.
It’s too early to tell quite how this will all turn out.
As for now, I decided I could easily afford to shell out 20¢ more for Best Choice mostaccioli. The thought crossed my mind that Best Choice could be a Goya company, but, as far as I can tell, that’s not the case.
The one Goya product I do miss are the plantain chips, especially the ripe plantain chips. I have found other brands of plantain chips, but I don’t like them as much. For pretty much everything else Goya has branched into, other companies make the same as good or better.
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