FAQs Ask a Grower

Here are some questions that consumers ask us...

  1. What is Sunkist Growers?
  2. What exactly does "not-for-profit" mean?
  3. What is a cooperative?
  4. What is the advantage of joining a cooperative such as Sunkist?
  5. What is Sunkist’s business?
  6. Why was Sunkist organized?
  7. How large is Sunkist's export market?
  8. How does Sunkist promote growers' fruit?
  9. How much is the Sunkist name worth to Sunkist members?
  10. Is there a preference for Sunkist fruit?
  11. The Sunkist name is on many products other than fresh citrus. Does Sunkist manufacture them also?
  12. How does Sunkist control the quality of its products?
  13. What happens to fruit that isn't suitable for the fresh market?


1. What is Sunkist Growers?
Sunkist is a not-for-profit marketing cooperative entirely owned by and operated for the California and Arizona citrus growers who make up its membership. Sunkist is the oldest continually operating citrus cooperative in America and the largest marketing cooperative in the world's fruit and vegetable industry.

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2. What exactly does "not-for-profit" mean?
In Sunkist’s core business, the marketing of its members’ fruit and fruit products, Sunkist neither earns nor retains any profits for itself. All the money the cooperative generates from the sale of its members’ fruit, less actual expenses, is returned to the growers. Only income generated from non-member and other incidental business activities is retained by the cooperative and then only as a source of capital with which to operate the business for the members.

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3. What is a cooperative?
A cooperative is a group of people with similar needs who collectively own and operate an enterprise for their mutual benefit.

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4. What is the advantage of joining a cooperative such as Sunkist?
Cooperatives give producers clout. In today’s competitive international market, an independent grower stands alone against the competition. As a member of a cooperative, each individual grower joins with other growers to gain a mutually larger market share. A cooperative of growers together can do many things that a grower alone cannot afford to do -- develop a worldwide market, promote a brand name, access a global transportation system, develop comprehensive research capabilities, and gain governmental access to overseas markets -- to name a few.

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5. What is Sunkist’s business?
The Sunkist® name is your assurance of premium quality and taste satisfaction. Since 1893, people have trusted generations of our growers to deliver the essential goodness of Mother Nature's best citrus. Sunkist has developed the most diversified citrus marketing and processing operation in the world, and has created a multi-million dollar international market for fresh citrus and citrus products from California and Arizona. Over the years, Sunkist has built an organization -- and a trademark -- known and respected throughout the world.

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6. Why was Sunkist organized?
Sunkist was organized in 1893 by a group of citrus growers who realized the benefits of a cooperative approach to marketing their fruit. At that time, the citrus industry was fragmented. Haphazard distribution, unscrupulous agents, and disastrous prices were threatening growers’ livelihoods. Survival was questionable. Sunkist was the answer.

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7. How large is Sunkist’s export market?
During the current season, 45% of Sunkist’s fresh fruit sales revenues were earned in markets outside the United States as well as more than 20% of its processed products revenues. Sunkist continually works with the U.S. government and the governments of foreign countries to open new markets presently closed to western citrus by unfair trade barriers. Such efforts continue to meet with success.

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8. How does Sunkist promote growers’ fruit?
Since 1907, Sunkist has continually advertised both at home and abroad to encourage citrus use; to provide ever-increasing markets for the ever-increasing production; and to build public preference for the Sunkist brand. In fact, Sunkist was the first organization ever to brand and to advertise a produce item.

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9. How much is the Sunkist name worth to Sunkist members?
Sunkist is among the most recognized brand names in the United States and in the world. The value of the Sunkist name is impossible to accurately tag with a price. Experts have said that to establish a trademark equal in value to the Sunkist name today would cost well over one billion dollars.

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10. Is there a preference for Sunkist fruit?
Oh, yes! Sunkist fruit is the standard of comparison for the wholesale and retail trade. Consistently delivering premium quality and taste satisfaction, Sunkist is not only a trademark but also a trustmark for both consumers and buyers alike. The Sunkist brand is one of the most widely known and respected in the world, and Sunkist’s advertising and promotion stimulates year-round consumer demand.

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11. The Sunkist name is on many products other than fresh citrus. Does Sunkist manufacture them also?
Sunkist has licensed its Sunkist brand name for more than 50 years to capable partners who share Sunkist’s commitment to quality products. Today, Sunkist licensees include some of the world’s most well known companies. While Sunkist does not manufacture its licensed products, the company does approve all licensees and their products, oversees quality control and sets packaging and advertising standards. Sunkist is proud of the wide range of products bearing its name today, making the brand one of the most recognized in the world.

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12. How does Sunkist control the quality of its products?
Quality control is first a matter of written rules and regulations to which all Sunkist-affiliated packinghouses and manufacturers strictly adhere. Staff inspectors make daily visits to packinghouses and destination wholesalers and retailers to make sure the regulations are followed. Manufacturers producing Sunkist packaged products all employ standardized quality control programs and are visited regularly by Sunkist technical staff. Within the packinghouses and distribution structure, the quality control system has been one of the strongest elements in Sunkist's successful one hundred-plus year history. Consumers know they can depend on the quality of fruit bearing the Sunkist brand sticker or any packaged product bearing the Sunkist name. Produce buyers and retailers everywhere know the selling value of that quality.

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13. What happens to fruit that isn’t suitable for the fresh market?
Sunkist growers own two of the West’s largest citrus processing plants. Fruit not meeting fresh market standards is processed into a variety of juice, oil and peel products which are marketed worldwide. With these plants, Sunkist members are guaranteed that all their fruit, regardless of quantity or quality, will be handled to advantage.

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