DELANO, Calif., Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Paramount Citrus today celebrated the grand opening of its new citrus packinghouse, which will be home to the company's sweet, seedless, E-Z peel™ Cuties® California Mandarins. The facility measures in at more than 640,000 square feet – the equivalent of 11 football fields under roof – making it the world's largest citrus packinghouse.
"This new Cuties® Plant gives us a lot to be proud of, but it's not about being the biggest, it's about striving to be the best in the industry," said Stewart Resnick, chairman and owner of Roll Global, parent company to Paramount Citrus. "Whether it's through our commitments to quality, innovation, operational excellence, or the use of sustainable energy, we aim to be in an industry-leading position, both for Paramount Citrus and the Cuties® brand."
The Cuties Plant was built to keep up with the demand for the small fruit that has taken the U.S. citrus market by storm. Last season, Paramount Citrus and its partners packed and shipped 60 million boxes of Cuties®. That number is expected to reach 90 million this year; and in less than five years, shipments are expected to reach 140 million boxes.
"We've planted a lot of Cuties® trees over the past several years and the consumption and demand has consistently increased," said Paramount Citrus President David Krause. "We need this facility to handle all the new volume coming on line."
The Cuties® Plant is the largest single capital investment in Roll Global's history, and reinforces the company's commitment to innovation, operational excellence and clean technology. Nearly every aspect of the facility is industry leading:
- Clean Technology: Half of the power used at the Cuties® Plant will come from "green energy" generation. The Cuties® Plant's roof is home to a 2.7MW solar plant which will generate 15 percent of the power for the Cuties® Plant, making it one of the largest customer-owned rooftop solar plants in the U.S. Additionally, a 1.6MW fuel cell, which produces electricity from natural gas with no combustion, will supply a further 35 percent of the power required to run the Cuties® Plant.
- Innovative Operations: The Cuties® Plant features presort lines from Compac for the sizing and grading of its fruit – one of which measures in at 310 feet, making it the longest electronic grader and sizer in the world.
- Food Safety Excellence: The Cuties® Plant was constructed using 100 percent precast concrete panels, which not only allowed the building to be constructed more quickly – construction took two years and was completed in time for this fall's harvest – but also provide the best food safety conditions. There are no voids or ledges, making the ceiling and walls easy to clean.
Beyond the size and capabilities, the Cuties® Plant will also generate increased economic development for the Delano area of California's Central Valley, bringing with it more than 500 new jobs to the area.
"This investment by Paramount Citrus to build a new world-class Cuties® facility and create 500 jobs is such a welcome benefit to the Delano area," said Grace Vallejo, Mayor of Delano. "Our city currently has an unemployment rate of nearly 13 percent, but the Cuties® Plant is a big step in the right direction, offering a wide range of positions that appeal to the hardworking members of our community."
The Cuties® Plant will be operational six months out of the year (November-April), coinciding with the annual Cuties® harvest. During peak season, it will run up to 20 hours a day, six days a week. The Cuties® Plant will have the capacity to process 4,000 bins of fruit daily; to fill 800,000 3lb. bags each day; and to accommodate 31 million pounds of Cuties in its cold storage rooms.
About Cuties® Brand
Thanks to their small size, sweet flavor and easy peelability, Cuties® are naturally kid-friendly. And with their high nutritional content, they're a big hit with parents, too. Available from November through May, Cuties® offer a variety of nutrients per serving including: fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, vitamin C and folate. Cuties® is a joint venture between Paramount Citrus, Sun Pacific and Fowler Packing. For more information, visit www.Cutieskids.com.
About Paramount Citrus
Paramount Citrus is the largest integrated grower, shipper and packer of fresh citrus – clementine mandarins, navel oranges, Valencia oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and other citrus varieties – in the U.S. More than 15 million cartons of fresh citrus, from more than 42,000 acres of owned property, are shipped annually throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim, and processed from its facilities in the San Joaquin Valley, Texas and Mexico. The Cuties® California Mandarins brand is a joint venture between Paramount Citrus, Sun Pacific and Fowler Packing. Paramount Citrus is fully owned by Roll Global, which is the number one grower and marketer of pistachios, almonds, pomegranates and consumer-branded goods including POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, FIJI Water, Wonderful Almond Accents, Justin Vineyards and Wonderful Pistachios. For more information, please visit www.paramountcitrus.com.
SOURCE Paramount Citrus