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Paramount debuts new premium mandarin

Paramount Citrus, a leading U.S. citrus grower, announced the launch of a new premium California mandarin brand, Wonderful Halos, and revealed plans to spend a record $100 million over the next five years as part of an integrated, national campaign to market the "pure goodness" and uniquely delicious taste of the sweet, seedless, easy-peel fruit.

halosHalos will join the portfolio of Wonderful Brands and will be available in November when California mandarin season begins. Wonderful Brands products — including Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Almonds, Wonderful Almond Accents and POM Wonderful — are currently sold in every major food, drug, mass and club store across the United States and Canada.

"Over the past few years, moms have really fallen in love with this fruit," David Krause, president of Paramount Citrus, said in a press release. "For children, it's a healthy alternative to fatty foods like chips and cookies. Kids love the taste, and the small size and the easy 'peel-ability' make this different from other fruits. Halos are fun to peel and sweet to eat. This is a perfect snack for parents and their little angels."

Halos will be available in the produce aisles of grocery, mass and club stores. They will be sold in three- and five-pound bags and five-pound boxes. The light blue box resembles the sky with the mandarin mascot innocently gazing up at its halo.

Paramount Citrus will tell the Halos story through a multiyear marketing and advertising campaign to promote mandarins to health-conscious consumers. The launch will include television, print, online, trade and outdoor advertising, free standing inserts, point-of-sale displays, retailer promotions, consumer events and public relations activities.

Last month, Paramount Citrus announced it would end its joint venture with grower Sun Pacific. The companies previously sold mandarins under the "Cuties" brand.

Going forward, Paramount Citrus will sell Halos through a partnership with Fresno-based Fowler Packing. Together, the two companies will oversee all facets of the production, sales and marketing for 65 percent of the country's California mandarin crop.

To guarantee consumers superior taste, quality and consistency, Halos "pure goodness" starts with high-standard growing practices that manage production from tree to table.  

For retailers, Halos will combine Paramount Citrus's industry leadership with Wonderful Brands' strong sales force. Wonderful Brands' 200,000 produce displays are serviced by an extensive internal sales and merchandising staff.

Wonderful Brands currently employs more than 200 sales professionals who visit U.S. and Canadian grocers on a monthly basis to ensure consistency of supply and merchandising. Each member of the Wonderful Brands sales staff is equipped with an iPad to monitor accounts and provide superior customer service.  

With 14,000 acres of mandarin orchards located primarily in California's San Joaquin Valley, Paramount Citrus is the industry's largest grower of mandarins. The company's vast acreage allows its employees to pick fruit at the peak of maturity without sacrificing supply.

The majority of the Halos harvest will be processed in the world's largest citrus packinghouse in Delano, CA, which is partially powered by one of the largest commercially owned rooftop solar plants in the country.

To ensure freshness, Paramount Citrus's packinghouses are integrated with the company's shipping facilities, which comprise the largest shipping platform for citrus products in North America.

Both Paramount Citrus and Wonderful Brands are part of the Roll Global family of companies.

"It was the Roll Global marketing team that transformed mandarins from a seasonal commodity into one of America's most popular produce brands," Krause said in the press release. "Our plan for Halos is no less ambitious. We will continue to be the market leader as we commit significant resources to turn Halos into a household name."

Additional details on the Halos launch will be announced this fall in advance of mandarin season at HalosKids.com and at Facebook.com/HalosKids.