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McCain Citrus: the little juice company grows up.

When it opened its doors about six years ago, McCain was a one-plant regional frozen juice concentrate packer looking for customers. Based on Chicago's West Side, the company had more than $30 million in eight months of sales that year (1985-86).

McCain is still looking for new customers, but it doesn't have to look nearly as hard. Now the largest private label frozen juice concentrate packer in the country, McCain has seen four-fold growth over six years - much of it from McCain branded products.

What's fueling the McCain Citrus engine? A combination of strategic acquisitions and a penchant for finding unexploited niches in the market-place.

"We don't believe in |me too' products," said Richard Lan, president of McCain Citrus. "When we come out with a new product, we want our customers to say, |Why didn't anybody think of this before?'"

The first innovative product under the McCain brand, Boku is the first aseptic-packaged entry in the adult juice cooler market. Popular comedian Richard Lewis is the Boku spokesperson.

The flavors are more sophisticated: white grape-raspberry, apple-raspberry, apple-peach, black cherry-white grape, seven fruit blend, orange-peach and orange banana.

"The trend is away from artificial colors and flavors and preservatives," Lan said. "And the adult market is looking for non-alcoholic beverages that don't taste like kids' drinks."

The children's market has been the site of McCain Citrus' second innovation: Junior Juice, an aseptic-packaged 4.2 ounce serving of 100 percent juice designed specifically for toddlers age one to six.

The smaller portions are designed to fit both the hands and appetites of children while appealing to mothers' desire to reduce breakage and juice waste. The product's spokespersons: animated characters of Uncle Froggy, Emily the Mouse, Ronald Rabbit and Nick the Fox, are strictly for the kids.

"Toddlers have been an unnoticed segment in our industry," Lan said. "In 1990, infants under age one consumed about $140 million in juices. After that age, they don't lose their appetite for juice. They just have fewer options."

Apple and apple blends continue to be toddlers' favorite juice flavors, and McCain took the hint by producing Junior Juice in six flavors: apple, apple-cherry, apple-grape, apple-pear, mixed fruit and orange.

The bulk of McCain Citrus' business remains in packing of frozen concentrates. Lan estimates that the company producers more than 500 different products for about 100 customers.

MCain's growth spurt has been assisted by the addition of plants in Hillside, N.J., and Fontana, Calif. The result is a nationwide network that helps control customers' shipping costs.

C the growth of McCain Citrus continue at its breakneck pace? Lan has projected sales of more than $200 million for 1991-92, up 8.6% from last year. But sales already are ahead of projections, and there's another new product set for release early in 1992. It looks like another good year.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Frozen Food Digest, Inc.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:McCain Citrus, Inc.
Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Words:472
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