Goya Foods fuels growth at PACK EXPO

By Julie Ackerman, PMMI

- Last updated on GMT

Goya Foods executives attend PACK EXPO to discover processing and packaging equipment, like the Eriez E-Z Tec DSP metal detector.
Goya Foods executives attend PACK EXPO to discover processing and packaging equipment, like the Eriez E-Z Tec DSP metal detector.
Rapidly growing Latino foods producer Goya Foods is honing in on the latest technologies to fuel its expansion through connections made at PACK EXPO.

Based on the company’s success with sourcing new technologies at previous PACK EXPO trade shows, Goya Foods, a nearly 80-year-old family-owned business, plans to attend PACK EXPO International (scheduled November 2-5 in Chicago). There, representatives will connect with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and  identify new equipment for the rapidly expanding business. 

We always find the latest solutions at PACK EXPO​,” said Evelio Fernandez, general manager and vice president for Houston-based Goya Foods. “Whether it’s new processing technology, or trends in packaging, the show is a great way to stay on the edge of innovation​.”

Goya Foods specializes in Latino cuisine; its more than 1,200 products include pantry items, condiments, frozen foods and beverages, and can be found in grocery stores and supermarkets throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and around the world. With 3,000 employees, Goya is the US’ largest Hispanic-owned food company.

Texas-sized challenge

Goya has developed a loyal and expanding customer base over time by producing high-quality products focused on Mexican, Caribbean, Central and South American cuisine.

The growing demand required a new facility; to meet that need, Goya moved forward in 2005 with plans for a new 138,000-square foot bean cannery in Houston.

“This Houston plant is very strategic to our continued upward growth as a compan​y,” Fernandez said. “We are capitalizing on our evolving customer demographics and our closeness to Mexico and the Port of Houston​.”

For the plant to be successful, the company knew it would need new packaging and manufacturing technologies that could accommodate the rapid growth. The process of setting the added manufacturing facility had its challenges, however, particular when it came to finding the right equipment.

We needed to set up our bean processing line to be efficient, but still maintain the food quality and safety our customers have come to expect​,” Fernandez said.

To solve these equipment challenges, Fernandez enlisted the help of longtime supplier Frazier & Son (Conroe, Texas) to outfit Goya’s plant with bucket elevators, which eliminate product degradation by handling the beans gently, and increase operator safety though well placed stainless steel guards.  Frazier turned to Eriez (Erie, PA), Goya’s PACK EXPO connection, to find a way to integrate its bucket elevators with Eriez’s vibratory feeders/screeners and metal detectors.

Throughout the years, Eriez and Goya have held meetings at PACK EXPO to discuss potential methods to increase safety measures and efficiency at Goya’s plants worldwide, especially when we launch a new technology​,” said Dave Heubel, national sales manager for Eriez. “We worked on a plan with Frazier to give Goya exactly what they needed​.”

Eriez produces advanced technology for magnetic, vibratory and inspection applications. The company manufactures a wide range of machinery, including metal detection and screening equipment, built for speed, efficiency and safety.

Houston, we have a solution

The two suppliers’ efforts proved to be just what Goya needed. Goya installed the Eriez high-deflection (HD) Vibratory Feeder/Screener (model HD66) in tandem with Frazier’s bucket elevators. Further down the production line, Goya’s beans are bagged and then sent through the Eriez E-Z Tec DSP metal detector. 

Fernandez said he was impressed with the functionality and design of the Eriez/Frazier line.

Together, Eriez and Frazier came up with a seamless system that would allow us to move our product easily and safely throughout the process​,” he said. “They built a product line that moves Goya’s beans through the plant quickly and accurately identifies contaminants; Eriez’s technology was able to screen for metal contamination in a smaller footprint than I imagined possible​.”

The E-Z Tec DSP Metal Detector locates ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel metal contaminants. Its digital controls reportedly make operation simple, yet effective.

We can process the beans in our plant knowing that any metal contaminants picked up in the field or during transport will be eradicated​,” Fernandez added. “With the Eriez HD Screener, we have a materials handling system that is also an investment in preventive food safety; it also allows for greater feed capacity and a 75% reduction in our power consumption​.”

There are countless opportunities for food contamination in products such as beans as they move from field to harvest to the processing facility​,”  Heubel added. “Goya takes food safety seriously so that it doesn’t have problems with impurities in the products it delivers to the market​.”

Looking forward to Chicago

The combined system reportedly works so well, Goya went on to install 12 similar setups at other facilities in Texas, Florida, and California. With the efforts of Eriez and Frazier, Goya reportedly is assured an efficient, safe product flow through its US facilities.

And, in November 2014, Goya will be back at PACK EXPO International, Fernandez said.

We look forward to visiting PACK EXPO International 2014 to find the latest and greatest in packaging and processing equipment​,” he said. “We’re still growing, and we need to stay on the cutting edge to continue to advance our business​,” he said.

Eriez will be back, too, Heubel said.

PACK EXPO is a great show for Eriez; we always get solid leads from companies serious about enhancing their current operations or planning new ones​,” he said.

PACK EXPO International 2014, owned and produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, will showcase the latest trends and technologies for packaging and processing. On-floor educational sessions and destinations such as The Processing Zone, which showcases new ways to improve production line efficiencies, are designed to further enhance the attendee experience. 

Additionally, the debut edition of Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO and produced in partnership by PMMI and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), will be available and free to PACK EXPO attendees and will offer cross-industry solutions that easily apply to food and beverage, meat, produce, dairy, baking and snack, and confectionery manufacturers.  

To learn more about the show or sign up to be notified when registration opens, visit www.packexpointernational.com.

Julie Ackerman is senior director of PR/communications for PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies

Related topics: R&D