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The story of Sazon Goya seasoning has rich history, says creator's son

The story of Sazon seasoning
The story of Sazon seasoning 03:58

DORAL – The tiny Sazon Goya pouches are full of flavor and history that ties all the way back to the Cuban Revolution.

It's the moment in history that Jose "Pepe" Ortega was stripped of everything he once knew. So, when a job opportunity opened in Puerto Rico, he went and while there, he birthed something he knew was a hit from the start.

"He came up with the perfect blend of ingredients that he thought was magical," said his son who bears his same name.

Initially, the operation started small, and most everything was done by hand. Ortega recalls it was a true labor of love.

"It was not easy to convince the groceries to buy this because it was a new thing. They know what garlic is, salt, pepper, but this was a unique blend," said Ortega.

The challenges didn't stop there, when the original manufacturer began to make changes, the Ortegas knew they needed to do the same. So, they partnered with the Unanue family and Sazon Goya was born.

The partnership is embarking on 50 years together and to see all that it's become, Frank Unanue, President of Goya Foods of Florida, says, "We've come a long way."

Unanue credits the older generation for making Sazon's success possible.

"They gave us the tools, they taught us, they gave us the work ethic, and they would be very very proud of where we are today," he said.

The groundwork was laid and now the fourth generation of both families are working in tandem to continue "Pepe's" legacy.

"I'm getting to build a relationship with him in a way that I didn't get to while he was alive," said Natalia Ortega, Product Manager of Sazon Goya.

Her father believes if Pepe Sr. were alive today he'd be proud of her but also confident that he knew from the beginning that they had a winning recipe.

To celebrate 50 years in business, Sazon Goya is taking a truck on the road to celebrate to continue connecting customers, employees, and the community.

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