In recent years, the iconic Florida citrus industry has been faced with challenges from devastating citrus greening to major hurricanes pummeling the state’s fruit groves. Today, members of the industry are doubling down on their commitment to ensure citrus and juice products remain synonymous with the Sunshine State with an announcement that Peace River Citrus Products and Scott Family Companies and its partners will invest more than $25 million to plant a quarter million new grapefruit trees on 1,500 acres in Florida’s St. Lucie and Indian River Counties.
This is the first major grapefruit planting in the state since citrus greening decimated Florida’s existing grapefruit groves.
“Through this innovative grove planting commitment, Peace River and The Scott Family Companies aim to boost Florida’s grapefruit crop by 15 percent once the new groves reach maturity,” said Andy Taylor, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Peace River Citrus Products.
“Tackling the invasive citrus greening disease requires the citrus industry to work together,” added Dan Richey, President and CEO of Riverfront Packing Company. “Scott Family Companies is proud to partner with Peace River to not only plant 1,500 acres of grapefruit trees in Florida but to also ensure these trees are protected from devastating diseases.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joined Peace River, Scott Family Companies and its partners to raise a glass of grapefruit juice to celebrate the rebuilding of Florida grapefruit groves.
“Florida is proud to have the best citrus produce in the world,” said Governor DeSantis. “Since January, we’ve been dedicating resources and improving policies to make sure Florida’s citrus industry gets back on its feet, and today, we’ve surpassed the 50 percent milestone for this important funding. For citrus growers still suffering from Hurricane Irma, know this – we are providing recovery funding as quickly as possible, and we will not waiver in our support.”
Through its long-standing partnership with Peace River, The Coca‑Cola Company is supporting this effort with a multi-year agreement to purchase processed grapefruit juice for its global juice brands.
“As a total beverage company and proud manufacturer of juice products in the state of Florida, Coca‑Cola has been and remains committed to using Florida citrus in our growing portfolio of products,” said Mark Westfall, Chief Procurement Officer for The Coca‑Cola Company. “We have a longstanding commitment to the Florida citrus industry with ongoing partnerships to address citrus greening and a $2 billion commitment announced in 2013 to support the planting of 25,000 new acres of orange groves in Florida. We’re pleased to build on this with today’s announcement that we will secure an increased supply of Florida grapefruit juice for our products like Simply Grapefruit, which is bottled in Auburndale.”
Japan-based flavor and fragrance giant Takasago International Corporation is strengthening its 40-year relationship with the Florida citrus industry by investing $1.5 million in the new tree plantings. Takasago is underwriting the cost of every new tree planted through this partnership to ensure a sustainable grapefruit industry in Florida. Additionally, Takasago has entered into a multi-year agreement for the supply of grapefruit peel oil, which is a key ingredient in flavor and fragrance manufacturing.
“Grapefruit is an important piece of Takasago’s DNA, and we are pleased with our partners’ resilience and commitment to the future of the Florida citrus industry,” stated Pablo Britti Macagno, Takasago Strategic Citrus Director. “This initiative is part of Takasago’s ‘TaSuKI’ strategic corporate responsible sourcing program that ensures direct sourcing of ingredients and having a manufacturing presence in the countries of origin.”
Peace River Citrus Products is a privately held and vertically integrated citrus grower, processor and packager founded by Bill Becker and headquartered in Vero Beach, FL. Peace River employs 325 people in its modern and efficient citrus grove and processing operations, which are located throughout Central Florida. Peace River is a strategic supplier and brand partner to The Coca‑Cola Company, supplying orange, grapefruit and lemon juices and citrus products to support Coca‑Cola’s brands across the globe. Peace River also supplies juices and citrus by-products such as pulp, essence and oil to private label bottlers, retailers and flavor companies in both domestic and international markets.
Scott Family of Companies is a vertically integrated organization that grows, packs and markets fresh grapefruit for the international and domestic markets. The companies that make up this organization include Scott Family Groves, Scott Citrus Management, Riverfront Packing Company, and Scott Marketing. The Scotts are third generation citrus growers that have a long history of farming in the famous Indian River Growing District. Five family members are intimately involved in the day-to-day operations across management of the farms, a fresh fruit packing plant and a marketing and distribution company of the fresh product.
The Coca‑Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is a total beverage company, offering over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories. In addition to the company’s Coca‑Cola brand, our portfolio includes AdeS, Ayataka, Costa, Dasani, Del Valle, Fanta, Georgia, Gold Peak, Honest, innocent, Minute Maid, Powerade, Simply, smartwater, Sprite, vitaminwater and ZICO. We’re constantly transforming our portfolio, from reducing sugar in our drinks to bringing innovative new products to market. We’re also working to reduce our environmental impact by replenishing water and promoting recycling. With our bottling partners, we employ more than 700,000 people, helping bring economic opportunity to local communities worldwide. Learn more at www.coca-colacompany.com and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Takasago International Corporation (Tokyo: Takasago) was established in Japan in 1920. For nearly 100 years, with a corporate philosophy of “Contributing to Society through Technology”, Takasago has developed flavors and fragrances for the world’s most successful manufacturers of foods, beverages, fine fragrances, home and personal care products. Takasago’s innovative global team, including recognized scientists, true flavor & fragrance artists and people dedicated to products manufactured with citrus oils, work together to satisfy rapidly changing markets. Takasago is investing nearly 10% of sales in R&D through 13 Creation Centers around the world. Learn more about Takasago at www.takasago.com.