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SHERMAN OAKS, CA -- "For more than 117 years, Sunkist has been providing consumers worldwide with premium citrus," Sunkist President and Chief Executive Officer Russ Hanlin said in a mid-March press release. "This year, we will also be providing premium ‘Sunkist’-branded table grapes."Sunkist logo

Richard Bagdasarian Inc. and Bravante Produce -- two fully integrated grape growers, packers and shippers that are both Sunkist-affiliated grower-shippers -- are pioneering the introduction.

"Sunkist is one of the best known and most trusted brands in fresh produce," Nick Bozick, president of Richard Bagdasarian Inc., headquartered in Mecca, CA, a Sunkist member since 1988, said in the release. "This expansion of the Sunkist produce line is a marriage between high-quality growers and a world-class brand. I'm looking forward to using Sunkist's innovative industry-leading promotion for table grapes."

"The Sunkist name helps open doors in new markets," George Bravante, managing partner of Reedley, CA-based Bravante Produce which joined Sunkist in 2009, said in the release. "We've been extremely pleased with the benefits we've enjoyed from becoming a part of Sunkist and are looking forward to adding grapes to the Sunkist family of produce."

Sunkist's line of table grapes includes a dozen varieties of popular red, green and black seedless grapes as well as the Red Globe seeded variety. Having members from two distinct growing areas enables Sunkist to provide customers with continuous supplies throughout the table grape season, starting around May in the California desert and moving up to the San Joaquin Valley through December.

"We are beginning this expansion with a base of high-quality fruit and two well-respected organizations," Mr. Hanlin said. "The synergies created by combining Sunkist's marketing expertise and the experienced sales networks within the two grape operations adds value to both." In the first year of the new program, Sunkist expects to bring about 2 million cartons of grapes to market.

"Our expanded portfolio of products enhances the value we offer both our customers and consumers," he added. "We spent a great deal of time looking at the best possible produce match. We chose grapes because, like citrus, they are a great-tasting, convenient, healthy product that everyone loves."