Goya Announces $80,000 Scholarship for Culinary Science Students

By Elijah Labby Tuesday, December 22, 2020

College can be expensive, and this cost can be a barrier to entry for some prospective students. Goya Foods, which is the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, wants to make attending college easier and is putting up $80,000 to help students in the United States do it.

The scholarship is given to four first-time freshman culinary arts or food science students across the country in yearly increments of $5,000 that can be renewed for three additional years if they remain eligible.

Applicants for the scholarship, which will be distributed for the Fall 2021 semester, are judged on their academic record, financial need, leadership qualities, and the quality of a written essay about the part Goya foods has played in the applicant’s family traditions.

Bob Unanue, president of Goya Foods, said in a press release that the funds are a manifestation of Goya’s belief in higher education.

"Education is the foundation for growth and we believe that all students should have the opportunity and access to higher education,” he said. “ Through our Goya Gives program and the Goya Scholarship Fund, we have supported school and university initiatives that help strengthen the development and growth of our youth and educational systems."

In 2019, students from City University of New York, SUNY College of Tech at Delhi, and the Culinary Institute of America received the award.

Interested students can apply on Goya’s website. Applications are due by February 26, 2021.

What We Know About Goya’s Numbers

Goya is a private company, so outsiders cannot know specific performance numbers. But market data from New York-based global marketing research firm Nielsen can give us a clue about Goya’s performance.

Goya dominates the canned beans market and is a key player in rice offerings across the country. Both of these products have seen tremendous growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as fears resulting from food insecurity and damage to other supply chains.

This growth has been fairly consistent but has spiked in both the earliest days of the pandemic, from late February to early spring, when initial fears about COVID-19 were heightened, to recently, when experts began expressing fears about a winter surge in cases. During the latter period, the canned beans market saw 82.1% sales growth from early September to mid-November, and the rice products market increased by 84.5% within the same period.

Joe Perez, senior vice president of Goya Foods, told Fox Business that they have been preparing for the uptick in demand.

“We never let our guard down from the first COVID-19 wave,” he said. “We've been working even closer with all of our suppliers, increased our pool of logistic partners and discussed with our customers expected needs so that we are 100% prepared.”

Goya’s History of Charitable Giving

Goya’s charitable efforts do not end with the scholarship. The company has a long history of giving both money and food products to worthy causes.

In October, Goya donated 300,000 pounds of food to three Latin American countries — Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala — as part of its #GoyaGivesGlobal campaign. Over the summer, the company donated 400,000 pounds of food to families in New York and New Jersey.

"Food donations, like [this] generous contribution from Goya, are needed now more than ever, as New Jersey is projected to see a shocking 56% increase in food insecurity due to the pandemic," said Carlos Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey at the time.

In total, the company has donated 2.5 million pounds of food and 20,000 masks since the start of the pandemic.

These are merely a few of Goya’s charitable donations over the years. The others are too numerous to list here, but what is clear is that Goya is a company that values donating to the things that matter — education, supporting developing countries, and helping those in need. The company’s dedication to these causes is admirable, and their scholarship is merely one manifestation of it.

About the Author


Headshot for author Elijah Labby

Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.

Related Articles