Claire H. Smith
A Winning Combination
Sunkist Growers, Coastal Berries and American Consumers
October 27, 2003
Sherman Oaks/Watsonville, Calif., October 27, 2003...What's in a name? Quite a lot when that name is Sunkist says John Gargiulo, president and CEO of Coastal Berry Company.
Sunkist Growers, the Sherman Oaks-based citrus marketing cooperative and Coastal Berry, headquartered in Watsonville, are teaming up to bring Sunkist branded strawberries to retail shelves across the country beginning in early 2004.
"High quality brand names are a growing market trend," said John Gargiulo, "Consumers like to buy names they trust. We wanted to partner with Sunkist because Sunkist is one of the best known and most trusted brand names in fresh produce.
"Consumers recognize the Sunkist brand as a trust mark of premium quality, consistent products and great taste. At Coastal Berry we share the same goals by growing premium strawberries. The Sunkist brand and sales/marketing network will improve our ability to gain consumer awareness, distinction and preference. It's a winning partnership."
Sunkist, which markets citrus for its 6,000 California and Arizona growers-owners, is equally pleased with the new partnership combining Coastal's production strengths with Sunkist marketing and brand name.
"Strawberries are a natural fit in Sunkist's marketing strategy, " said Sunkist President Jeff Gargiulo. "Like citrus, they are a top seller, especially in the wintertime. And, they are rich in nutritional benefits such as vitamin C, well-liked by consumers -- and versatile. Coastal Berry is a preeminent producer with a well-deserved reputation for high quality production, innovation and food and worker safety.
"By teaming with Coastal, Sunkist can offer our customers an added value -- great tasting, healthy strawberries to complement our great tasting, healthy citrus," he added. In addition, Sunkist's growers-owners benefit from the growing diversity of our product mix, pleasing consumers with an even greater variety of high quality fruit products and increasing the brand equity that we have built over the years."
Coastal Berry farms more than 2,000 acres of berries in Watsonville, Oxnard, Santa Maria, Oceanside, Orange County and the Coachella Valley and is the third largest berry shipper in California today. Sunkist Growers is a 110- year-old farmer-owned citrus marketing cooperative with an internationally known and respected brand.
Jeff and John Garigulo are brothers. Coastal Berry was founded in the late 1970s by Gargiulo, Inc., sold in 1994 to Monsanto and is currently owned by David Gladstone, founder of Gladstone Capital Corporation, Washington D.C.