Florida's Natural Growers
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Florida's Natural Growers (stylized "Florida✾s Natural") is an agricultural cooperative based in Lake Wales, Florida. It is currently owned by over 1,100 grower members. It was the only national orange juice maker that uses only US-grown fruit (grown by its cooperative members in Florida) in its products.
Florida's Natural Growers was founded in 1933 as Florida Citrus Canners Cooperative. Its initial operations included canning juice and grapefruit sections for its members, and in 1938 began extracting juice with automated machines. During World War II, the company produced concentrated orange juice for the military; after the war, 80% of the juice the company produced was in frozen concentrate form to meet consumer demand for the relatively new, convenient form.
In the 1960s, consumer demand shifted to fresh-squeezed orange juice, and frozen concentrate sales declined while demand for chilled juices increased. In 1969, the cooperative took the name Citrus World and adopted the current name in 1998. It is currently composed of 12 growers: Waverly Growers Cooperative, Lake Placid Cooperative, Ben Hill Griffin Inc., Haines City Citrus Growers Association, Orange Growers Marketing Association, Lake Wales Citrus Growers Association, Hunt Brothers Cooperative, Citrus Marketing Services Inc, Peace River Packing Company, Dundee Citrus Growers Association, Winter Haven Citrus Growers Association, and Umatilla Citrus Growers Association.
In 2001, the company opened "Grove House", a visitor's center across the street from its Lake Wales, Florida processing plant. Grove House is open daily except Sunday, and is closed from Memorial Day through the last day of September.
Products and marketing
Florida's Natural produces not-from-concentrate citrus juices (mainly orange juice) under the Florida's Natural and Donald Duck brand names. In the 1970s and 1980s, Florida's Natural worked with The Walt Disney Company to develop the Orange Bird character for marketing and promotions.
The company's primary marketing strategy is to differentiate itself from main competitors Simply Orange, Minute Maid and Tropicana. It does this by emphasizing its cooperative organization ("we own the land, we own the trees, we own the company"). By comparison, Simply Orange and Minute Maid are both owned by Coca-Cola, while Tropicana is owned by PepsiCo. It was the only national orange juice maker that uses only US-grown fruit (grown by its cooperative members primarily in Polk County, Florida) in its products. Nearly all other juice makers use a mix of domestic and imported (Brazil) citrus fruit.
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