Goya boycott has not taken off in Milford

There have been calls for a boycott of Goya, a Latino food company, after its CEO displayed public support for President Donald Trump last week. However, so far, shoppers in Milford don’t seem to be participating. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

MILFORD — Following a showing of public support for President Donald Trump last week by the CEO of Goya, there have been calls for a boycott of the large, Latino-oriented company.

But in Milford, there seems to be little participation in the boycott, even if many take issue with President Trump and Goya CEO Bob Unanue’s support for him.

“Here, people say that Goya products are good,” said Jesus Sandoval, the owner of La Plaza Mexicana. “People like them.”

Despite nationwide calls to boycott Goya, Mr. Sandoval hadn’t seen interest in the company’s products decrease.

Goya sales were also as strong as ever next door at the Gigante International Market.

“I think we have almost every item from Goya, so whatever they have in their inventory, we want to sell it,” said Javiera Castillo, a floor manager at Gigante.

“A lot of people don’t care,” she said of the boycott. “Sometimes, the people can talk and can say a lot of things, but they’ll still buy.”

Ms. Castillo said calls to boycott the brand may have actually driven people to Goya.

Su Koan, Gigante International Market manager associate, stocks Goya products. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

“What I think is, it’s only marketing for Goya, because (boycott supporters) tried to make people not buy, but … when you say ‘don’t do it,’ the people always do it more,” she said.

Jacqueline Romero, who was stocking a freezer with Goya products in Gigante, praised the company’s goods as high quality.

“They sell really good,” she said. “Puerto Rican people like these kinds of things that Goya brings. We don’t have any other company that supplies those.”

Ms. Romero was not enthusiastic about boycotting Goya.

“I don’t see why there should be a problem,” she said. “A lot of people support Trump, and if we just stopped buying all the products from people who support Trump, we wouldn’t buy anything.”

But many people shopping at Gigante didn’t feel the same way.
“He’s selling his people out,” shopper Dorothy Jackson of Maryland said of Mr. Unanue. “With everything that’s going on, the controversy … it’s not right.”

Israel Nieves, also of Maryland, who had just finished his shopping trip with Ms. Jackson, expressed a similar sentiment.

“I’m a Puerto Rican. Goya comes from Puerto Rico,” he said. “The guy did the wrong thing, man. He shouldn’t do that.”

But that didn’t mean the duo was participating in the boycott.

“This is what we cook with, but the fact of the matter is, I still don’t think he should have met with the president,” Ms. Jackson said. “It just ain’t right.”

Mebelin Herrera of Milford, who was running into Gigante to get milk before starting a shift at her second job, doesn’t buy Goya products, but not because she’s participating in the boycott. She’s just loyal to different brands.

Still, Ms. Herrera knew about the boycott and said some in Milford were participating.

“I support it,” she said. “I believe Latinos should support these things, because not everyone has the same advantages in this country.”

While Ms. Herrera thought Mr. Unanue may have benefited from his public support for the president, she said it was harmful to the Latino community that has been the brand’s primary customer base for decades.

“I think it’s wrong, because the brand owes a lot to the Latino community,” she said. “It’s like turning your back on Latinos.”

She said her view of President Trump is negative.

Dorothy Jackson, left, and Israel Nieves at the parking lot after shopping for groceries at the Gigante International Market in Milford. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

“Personally, my view of him is not very good, not because he’s white or because he doesn’t support us,” she said, but because he’s “a narcissist.”

Mr. Sandoval thought of the commander in chief similarly.

“I don’t like the president,” he said. “Goya is better than the president.”