Sunkist: From Grove to Glass and Beyond: Using the Whole Fruit

Meet Greener Fields Together National Farms Partner:

Formed in 1893, Sunkist is a not-for-profit marketing cooperative owned by and operated for its citrus grower members in California and Arizona. In 2012, the growers entered into a joint venture with Ventura Coastal, LLC, a large, wholesale citrus processor in southern California, which processes Sunkist’s citrus fruit that does not meet its quality standards for fresh, whole fruit retail or foodservice sale; in many cases, fruit culled because of nature’s surface blemishes or irregularities -- ensuring that every part of the fruit is used, even the peel.

5Ps Verified Case Study
Total-Use Citrus Waste Management As part of a commitment to reduce waste, Sunkist has focused its efforts on identifying, expanding, or creating markets to utilize citrus fruit that does not meet quality standards for fresh sale. In 2012, Sunkist established a partnership with Ventura Coastal that furthers that goal through Ventura Coastal’s processing operation, which uses every part of the fruit to be sold to a variety of markets and customers. SureHarvest documented and verified Ventura Coastal’s total-use citrus processing program using the 5Ps of Sustainability.™

Sustainabllity Highlights
Sunkist has a history of innovation and stewardship demonstrated in its effort to reduce or eliminate citrus fruit waste. By providing Ventura Coastal with its byproducts, Sunkist ensures that its growers’ fruit is being utilized, while also providing the market with various desired and profitable citrus products. Ventura Coastal is a strong partner for Sunkist, and upholds the highest standards of production. This commitment to safety and quality is demonstrated by its status as a Safe Quality Food certified manufacturer, earned by adhering to strict industry guidelines verified by annual third-party audits to ensure that processes are continually maintained and improved.

1. Sustainability Principles
Dedicated to sustainability, including using all parts of citrus fruit, Sunkist and Ventura Coastal have adopted principles that ensure the production of high-quality citrus byproducts. Also, as a Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF) certified operation, Ventura Coastal meets strict criteria on the effectiveness of its operations at every control point. The annual audit conducted by SQF includes investigations into and verification of effectiveness of quality and food safety systems which also mitigate waste, and the negative impact on the environment from inefficient energy usage as well as effective usage of water to ensure health and safety of both the product and the environment.

2. Sustainablity Processes
Combining its dedication to reduce waste with the recognition that a market exists for every part of the citrus fruit, Sunkist and Ventura Coastal have established a process to provide hundreds of customers, including grocery store chains, dairies, and beverage manufacturers, with desired products that also provide additional income to the growers.

3. Sustainability Practices
The partnership employs comprehensive practices to guarantee every part of the fruit that is not sold for fresh use by Sunkist is marketed as commercial byproducts. Even the peel is used which is delivered to local dairies as a nutritious additive to cattle feed. Specific manufacturing practices are defined, documented and audited as part of the SQF program. After receiving citrus fruit from growers, Ventura Coastal extracts the raw juice, pulp, peel, and essential citrus oils. The juice is either processed as single-strength juice or concentrated to be blended with citrus oils and other ingredients to meet customized flavor, color, and taste preferences of its customers. The peel is shipped to dairies for use as feed. The pulp, which has been separated from the juice, is packaged into drums and pails. Essential oil, extracted from the fruit during squeezing, is refined and purified for shipment. Citrus essence – the naturally-occurring citrus aroma – is also captured and marketed. Finally, water is reclaimed as part of the process to reduce waste and for reuse.

4. Sustainablity Performance Metrics
Committed to SQF certification as a matter of company policy, Sunkist and Ventura Coastal regularly evaluate program performance, internally and through third-party audits. In addition to using Sunkist’s waste, Ventura Coastal regularly monitors machinery to ensure it is operating properly to achieve quality, safety and efficiency standards. Integrated Pest Management practices are also monitored and documented in the operations.

5. Sustainablity Progress
Sunkist and Ventura Coastal are committed to the continual evaluation and improvement of its totaluse concept. In fact, as a SQF certified manufacturer, Ventura Coastal has an SQF practitioner assigned to oversee the development, implementation, review, and maintenance of the SQF system and communicate to relevant personnel all information essential to ensure effective implementation and maintenance. The company undergoes annual audits which require the regular examination of certain criteria related to sustainability and ensure adherence to a process that inherently fosters continuous improvement by reviewing year-over-year scores.

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