Chiquita Brands is top banana among banana producers. The
company grows, procures, markets, and sells bananas and other fresh
fruits and vegetables under the Chiquita name and others. Its other
offerings include pineapples, packaged ready-to-eat salads, fresh
fruit and vegetable ingredients for the foodservice industry, and
processed fruit ingredients. Its Fresh Express brand is the leading
US seller of packaged ready-to-eat salads. Chiquita's products are
sold in nearly 70 countries, mainly in North America and Europe.
Brazilian agribusiness Grupo Cutrale and investment firm Safra
together own Chiquita.
Chiquita Brands operates through three main business segments --
Bananas, Salads and Healthy Snacks, and Other Produce. Its Bananas
segment makes up the bulk of its sales, and it gets most of its
business from North American, followed by European, Mediterranean,
and Middle Eastern Markets. The Salads and Healthy Snacks division
includes packaged, ready-to-eat salads sold under the Fresh Express
brand (and other private labels) in the retail market; fresh
vegetable and fruit ingredients used in foodservice; healthy
snacks; and processed fruit ingredient products.
Chiquita sells its brands in nearly 70 countries worldwide.
Sales and Marketing
Chiquita maintains regional sales groups to sell and market its
products to retailers and wholesalers. In North America, 90% of the
company's volume is sold under one-year or multi-year fixed price
contracts to both regional and national grocery stores, while the
rest is sold on the spot market. Chiquita sells one-year and
multi-year contracts in Europe and other international markets, but
the contracts are flexibly-priced.
Company owned farms produce one-third of Chiquita's bananas. To
satisfy demand, however, the company looks to third-party growers
in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico,
Nicaragua, Panama, and the Philippines for the balance of its
bananas. Chiquita, which relies on third parties worldwide for all
of its lettuce and other fresh produce, primarily serves the global
retail and foodservice sectors.
Chiquita's mid-Atlantic distribution hub is the Port of
Wilmington. In July 2014, the company signed an agreement with
Diamond State Port Corporation to continue the use of this hub
until July 2019, with two 5-year lease renewal options to
potentially expand the contract until 2029.
Chiquita's salads and healthy snacks business supports
Chiquita's strategy of providing more convenient, healthy-food
options to meet the needs of consumers. The company ships Fresh
Express ready-made salads that enjoy the #1 position in the US,
controlling roughly one-third of its market share. Some of this
segment's sales come from foodservice customers (mostly
quick-service restaurants). While Chiquita provides the foodservice
industry with lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, and onions,
what's purchased most often by customers in this niche is shredded
The company is focused on expanding its product range and brands
to new segments, categories, and geographies. To that end, it has
introduced Gourmet Café, Chiquita to Go, Just Fruit in a Bottle,
and Pineapple Bites to non-grocery venues, including convenience
outlets, gas stations, club stores, and coffee shops.
Chiquita is also leveraging a major refrigerated container
renewal program. Over the last few years it has replaced 65% of its
fleet to create more sustainable shipping practices. The company
operates upwards of 15,000 refrigerated containers, which play a
crucial role in its banana supply chain logistics. Improvements in
the design and operating efficiency of containers has led to
important environmental benefits that include reduced electric
power consumption, greenhouse friendly refrigerants, and the use of
insulation materials containing a reduced emissions footprint. The
renewal program gives Chiquita the opportunity to save up to 35% on
energy compared to older units. It also recognizes electricity
savings of 34 million kilowatt hours and an annual emissions
reductions of 17,000 tons of CO2 per year.