New in Your Shopping Aisle
While many migrant entrepreneurs opened specialty grocery stores that served local migrant communities, a few launched packaged food companies that aimed to capture a wider market. They produced foods on an industrial scale and distributed them to supermarket chains. In the process, they helped introduce people to new tastes and flavors—foods that are now widely available and enjoyed.
Prudencio Unanue was born in Spain and migrated to Puerto Rico. He later migrated to New York, around 1917, where he started what would become Goya Foods. By the 1960s, the company was the primary source of Caribbean and Latino foods for those communities in and around New York City. In subsequent decades, Goya expanded its capacity and began supplying mainstream grocery stores where consumers could find new-to-them spices, beans, juices, and frozen foods.
Percy Wallace Loy and Robert Wong, second-generation Chinese Americans, established Kubla Khan Frozen Food Company in Portland, Oregon, in 1950. The company produced prepacked food for sale in mainstream grocery stores. Using industrial sized woks, bowl-shaped frying pans, they combined Chinese cooking techniques with the latest frozen food technologies. The company relied on in-store demonstrations and tastings to promote their products like chop suey and chicken chow mein.