Two of the biggest names in fresh produce are teaming up to expand their presence in the fast-growing fresh-cut fruit category. Sunkist Growers, the premier marketer of fresh citrus and Taylor Farms, North America's largest supplier of value-added fresh produce to the foodservice industry, have announced a new joint venture – Sunkist Taylor LLC. The announcement was made at Sunkist's 112th annual meeting in Ventura, Calif.
"This is an ideal partnership," says Jeff Gargiulo, president and chief executive officer of Sunkist Growers, "combining the resources and expertise of two great companies, both with wide brand recognition, strong customer bases and superior logistics and processing presence. Together, Sunkist and Taylor Farms have well-established relationships with large, national distributors, major retailers and restaurant chains. And Taylor Farms' state-of-the-art processing plants strategically located across the country ensure the freshest possible customer service."
"Our goal," said Bruce Taylor, Taylor Farms' chairman and chief executive officer, "is to build our fresh-cut fruit operation to serve both foodservice and retail customers nationwide. Sunkist Growers is the perfect partner, a company whose brand is known the world over and recognized as a mark of premier quality and superior service. Our expertise in fresh vegetables and bagged salads and Sunkist's expertise in fresh citrus and other fruits are a perfect combination. Working together, we are creating a world-class fresh-cut fruit and vegetable company." Both companies, the CEOs said, also share the same high standards for food safety, consistent quality and customer service.
Taylor Farms entered the fresh-cut produce arena in 1995 and quickly became the recognized leader in supplying the foodservice industry with salads and fresh-cut vegetables. Sunkist entered the fresh-cut valued-added category in 2004 with the introduction of Sunkist Fun Fruit, a popular line of kid-size fresh-cut produce developed for school foodservice.
Rick Harris, currently general manager of Sunkist's Value Added Division will be president of Sunkist Taylor LLC. "It's an exciting opportunity," he said, "With this new venture, we're dedicated to bringing the most innovative, healthful, and convenient fresh-cut products to customers nationwide."