Interested in linking to "The New American Majority"?
You may use the Headline, Deck, Byline and URL of this article on your Web site. To link to this article, select and copy the HTML code below and paste it on your own Web site.
By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor | 09/07/2012
Uniquely, every retailer pays the same price for each Goya product whether a small independently owned store or a supermarket chain.
Goya's commitment to the Latino community is realized through its online presence, www.goya.com, which personalizes the consumer experience by providing great-tasting, authentic Latino recipes for the home cook as well as educating Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike to the diversity of Latin American cuisine. Visitors to Goya online are encouraged to become part of La Gran Familia Goya.
"It has been a memorable and successful year for Goya," says 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."
Fernando Desa, a native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, is Goya's executive chef and product manager. Capturing the traditional tastes and methods that have been handed down through generations, he works to retain the flavors that epitomize Latin American cuisine while incorporating new techniques that can be easily duplicated by the home chef.
"Hispanics like a lot of flavor in their food, and then the presentation on the plate. And then the freshness," said Desa, part of a panel on Hispanic cuisine at the Research Chefs Assn. annual meeting this year.
On the culinary horizon, "I think Peruvian is the next thing," Desa said. "It has already started. It's a fusion of Asian cuisine with a little Spanish cuisine. There are a wide variety of chiles. There is also a lot of freshness with the fish. Besides that, there are the mango, the passion fruit, very tropical and refreshing. When you mix that with the chilies, you have an excellent combination.
A perfect story of acclimation, Ruiz Foods Products Inc., Dinuba, Calif., has been developing Mexican food products since the 1960s.
"When my dad [Fred] and grandfather [Louis] started Ruiz Foods in 1964, they started with bean and cheese enchiladas and chile rellenos," says Chairman Kim Ruiz Beck. "They both lived in Tulare, Calif., a small agricultural and dairy community with a population around 14,000. They sold their frozen Mexican food, made from my grandmother Rosie's recipes, to small ‘mom and pop' stores in the area.
"The Ruiz Foods production facility was a portion of a small warehouse where they used such ‘sophisticated' equipment as an electric mixer from home, a homemade stove, a restaurant refrigerator and small freezer. They made approximately 40 lbs. of food a day.
"They remained a two-man operation for approximately three years. Then they moved to a USDA-approved facility so they could manufacture meat products, and it all began to change," she reflects. Ruiz Foods is now a $525 million sales company.
"As with any other ethnicity – Italian, Asian, German, Russian, etc. – that has immigrated to the U.S., the Mexican population brought with them the foods and recipes of their native country," Beck continues. "They served their favorite foods to their new American friends, they opened street stands or taquerias, and Mexico itself became a vacation destination for many Americans. And while people of all ethnic backgrounds became exposed to the unique textures, flavors and spices of Mexican food, they experimented slowly … just as they did when eating Italian, Chinese, Thai, German, etc. for the very first time."
There were some hard lessons along the way. "In the late 1970s, when we introduced our burritos with jalapeños and/or chile powder (e.g. ancho, chipotle), the general market balked," she says. "Our learnings? It takes time to introduce native spices, heat levels and textures. Palates must become acclimated and consumers must become comfortable and be ready to experiment with different dishes."
Fortunately, acceptance came rather quickly. "Today, consumers, particularly millennials, are looking to experiment with the different flavors, textures and levels of heat that Mexican foods offer," says Beck.
A departure from that family and Hispanic tradition occurred just last month. While Beck remains chairman, Rachel Cullen was appointed president & CEO, replacing a Ruiz family member. Cullen has more than 25 years experience with the likes of Unilever, Kraft, Orange Glo International and, most recently, Dean Foods.
Asians recently passed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants to the U.S. Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing group. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place great value on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center. Pew surveyed 3,511 Asian adults living in all 50 states Jan. 3-March 27 of this year.
A century ago, most Asian Americans were low-skilled, low-wage laborers crowded into ethnic enclaves and targets of official discrimination. Today they are the most likely of any major racial or ethnic group in America to live in mixed neighborhoods and to marry across racial lines.
When newly minted medical school graduate Priscilla Chan married Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg this summer, she joined the 37 percent of all recent Asian-American brides who wed a non-Asian groom.
These milestones of economic success and social assimilation have come to a group that is still majority immigrant. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Asian-American adults were born abroad; of these, about half say they speak English very well and half don't.
The educational credentials of these recent arrivals are striking. 61 percent of adults ages 25-64 who have come from Asia in recent years have at least a bachelor's degree. This is double the share among recent non-Asian arrivals, and almost surely makes the recent Asian arrivals the most highly educated cohort of immigrants in U.S. history.