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Claire H. Smith (818) 379-7455

Sunkist Creates New Global Sourcing Operation

Produce industry veteran Rick Eastes will head effort

January 30, 2004

January 20, 2004, Sherman Oaks, Calif...As part of its ongoing customer-focused marketing strategy, Sunkist Growers today announced the creation of a new business entity to help supply a wider array of products and services to its customers worldwide.

"This new entity will source complementary citrus products from around the world to serve our international customer network and add value to the Sunkist® brand, its current membership and the new suppliers we serve," said Sunkist President and CEO Jeff Gargiulo. Sunkist is the nation's largest citrus marketing cooperative, owned by 6,000 citrus growers in California and Arizona.

"Our customers are asking us to supply a wider range of high quality citrus products on a year round basis without seasonality limits, including varieties not traditionally grown by our grower-owners. Our new global sourcing entity will allow us to meet customer demands for consistent supplies, marketing and logistical services with a wider range of citrus products," he added.

Rick Eastes, 30-year veteran of the produce industry, has been chosen to head Sunkist's global sourcing efforts. Eastes has spent much of his career with The DiMare Company and, most recently, with The Oppenheimer Group as a shipper, exporter, importer and marketer of a broad range of fruit and vegetable crops.

"Rick is a unique resource with comprehensive international knowledge of both supply and marketing issues," said Gargiulo. "He brings to Sunkist extensive experience as a pioneer in importation and marketing of produce from Chile, Argentina, Spain, South Africa as well as exporting to Asia and other countries. He knows how to secure and deliver high quality product from different sources. He understands the quality, food safety and specialty packaging needs of Sunkist's international retailers and wholesaler customers."

When not traveling in his new capacity, Eastes will work from both Sunkist's Sherman Oaks headquarters and from Sunkist's National Sales Offices in Visalia, California.

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