The Coca-Cola Co. is branching out into licensing fresh fruit. The iconic CPG has signed an agreement with Frutura, a Reedley, Calif.-based global sales and marketing network that supplies customers, including retailers, with high-quality fruit throughout the year.
The deal is notable because it is the first time that Coca-Cola has licensed one of its brands for use in the fresh produce category. Through the agreement, Frutura can use the Minute Maid brand on grapes and fresh citrus from its Dayka & Hackett (D&H) operation, and the Simply Select brand on fresh citrus from D&H in the United States.
Kayla Carlucci, associate licensing manager with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, said that the move is a literal and figurative natural expansion of its iconic brands. “Our company is committed to serving the consumer with superior products at every part of their day,” she explained. “When we consider licensing one of our brands, the quality of the product that will bear our name is paramount, as is the quality control the licensee exercises at every step along the supply chain. We’re delighted to be in business with Frutura and consider this to be the start of a great relationship.”
Frutura provides produce in six categories by aggregating businesses in an end-to-end international supply chain. The licensing agreement with Coca-Cola is significant, Frutura CEO David Krause told Progressive Grocer in a recent interview. “We are feeling very humbled by the fact that we get to do this with such an esteemed brand,” he said.
When the licensing of the Minute Maid and Simply Select brands gets underway – likely in the second or third quarter of this calendar year – consumers will see those brands on table grapes and various citrus products in grocery stores in the United States, as well as in Japan.
While fresh produce items get a lift from the brand recognition, this is a mutually beneficial arrangement, according to Krause. “The brands are very well known, and this helps bring the brands top of mind in the product department, too,” he said.
The package design is still in the development stage, but Krause noted that the branding “will be impossible to miss” at the point of sale. “It will be there in a front-and-center way,” he asserted.
D&H CEO Tim Dayka agreed that the collaboration is a triple win for suppliers, brands and consumers alike. “Partnering with the iconic Coca-Cola Co. and their globally recognized and respected brands, is a transformative moment for our company and for Frutura,” Dayka said. “This will allow us to increase our market penetration in a meaningful way, as these brands resonate so strongly with the discriminating consumer.”