SHERMAN OAKS, Calif., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunkist Growers commemorated its 120th year with its third consecutive billion-dollar year in total revenue at the cooperative's annual meeting on February 20. Total payments to members totaled $840 million compared to $803 million in 2011.
Founded in 1893, the Sunkist cooperative of family farms offers over 35 varieties and a brand that has been trusted by customers and consumers for over a century. Sunkist remains as strong as ever and continues to position itself for the future.
"Following a year of positive change, Sunkist proudly honors the deep history, traditions and culture that built our iconic brand. We're 120 years old but we feel like we're just getting started," said Sunkist President and CEO Russell Hanlin.
One of the formative changes for Sunkist in 2012 was the formation of a Joint Venture (JV) to improve the company's juice business. "Developing the JV with juice processor Ventura Coastal has resulted in better pricing and created efficiencies," added Hanlin.
Another important stride forward for Sunkist in the past year was the launch of an annual dividend program for its growers. "Positive results and cost reductions across the business, have positioned Sunkist to launch an annual dividend program for growers. We are very pleased to be issuing our first distribution to growers in March."
Looking forward, the company remains focused on broadening the Sunkist portfolio of consumer products. "Sunkist's customer-focused approach guides everything we do," said Mark Gillette, re-elected chairman of Sunkist's Board of Directors and president of Sunkist-affiliated Gillette Citrus Inc. "Our growers, including myself, are expanding production of newer varieties consumers favor because we know it will continue to improve our sales success for years to come."
Innovations in packaging and retail display support have also been customer-driven. Sunkist's full range of cartons, bags, display masters, bin and reusable plastic containers (RPCs) have been designed with customers' needs in mind. For example, colorful 3 and 5 pound giro bags offer consumer convenience at a popular price point –translating to volume sales to the customer; visually-appealing pouch bags help new products shine; 10 pound cartons themed for special consumer activities spark excitement in stores; and secondary displays provide additional retail shelf space and allow retailers to conveniently tie-in fresh citrus sales as complementary items in the fresh seafood, frozen, and beverage departments.
Sunkist also works with their valued customers to create customer-specific marketing programs designed to build consumer excitement, demand, and sales. Sunkist provides creative marketing and promotional support to retail and foodservice customers. The cooperative also communicates with chefs, consumers and the trade worldwide to keep them informed about new varieties, healthy living and nutritional information.
"Sunkist at its core is a cooperative of family farms. Our culture is one of family and collaboration with growers and most definitely customers to drive the desired results for all. I have no doubt that the positive performance we are experiencing today is due to a renewed focus on delivering value to our key customers," said Sunkist's Vice President of Sales and Marketing Kevin Fiori. "If we have learned anything from the past it is that success is a process not a destination. We must never stop listening, planning, measuring, innovating and evolving. In our 120th year, Sunkist remains the most recognized name in the citrus category and we are optimistic about the future."
Sunkist Growers is a citrus marketing cooperative, founded in 1893, which is owned by and operated for thousands of family farmers growing citrus in California and Arizona.
Sunkist is a registered trademark of ©2013 Sunkist Growers, Inc., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, U.S.A., All rights reserved.
SOURCE Sunkist Growers, Inc.