Claire H. Smith

Sunkist Inks Agreement with Mildura Fruit to Market Australian Navels in Canada and Asia

May 11, 2004

Sunkist Grower’s global sourcing arm, Sunkist Global LLC, has announced an arrangement to market approximately 100,000 cartons of navels packed by Australia's Mildura Fruit Company (MFC) to Canada and some Asian countries under the Sunkist® brand. Sunkist Global LLC was created in January 2004 to allow the 110-year old California-Arizona based cooperative to better meet the demands of its worldwide buyer network for seasonal fruit items.

The agreement brings important distribution benefits to both MFC and Sunkist. For MFC, says MFC General Manager Russell Witcombe, it connects the company and its growers to the world’s top citrus brand. It also provides access to new international customers not currently served by MFC or the Australian exporters it supplies.

"For Sunkist," says Sunkist Global LLC’s Director Rick Eastes, "the purpose of forming alliances with sources of high quality seasonal citrus outside our California-Arizona grower base is to service the needs of its worldwide buyer network These alliances also add value to our famous brand, while providing a strong marketing influence designed to lift overall consumer demand for citrus worldwide."

Although Sunkist Global LLC intends initially to concentrate on Sunkist’s traditional marketing strengths in citrus, it also is embarking on new opportunities in some unique products like California strawberries under its Sunkist® brand.

“The Sunkist brand is known for its high quality product and its customer service," Eastes said. "Sunkist's goal is to respond not only to the demands of our buyers for year round supplies of fruit items, especially citrus, but also to provide a strong marketing and promotional service to other fruit producers who have the same quality standards maintained by Sunkist’s traditional cooperative suppliers."

Initial volumes of Sunkist branded Australian navels are expected to be modest and to grow over time. The first step is to establish an operational template in areas such as documentation, logistics and quality control to ensure the arrangement meets the marketing goals of both Sunkist and MFC to deliver high quality, flavorful fruit to Sunkist’s broad customer base.

MFC will continue to ship to its existing import customers, as well as supplying a small number of Australian based exporters where strong relationships already exist.



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