US fresh fruit supplier Chelan Fresh is to merge with Washington state peer Borton Fruit, the firms announced yesterday (2 May).
Details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the firms said in a statement the addition of Borton Fruit would bring “an immediate 47% volume expansion” to Chelan’s sales and marketing portfolio, “including organic offerings, early-season cherries, innovative plantings and new proprietary apple varieties”.
In addition, the firms said the newly-merged group “will become an industry leading producer of Honeycrisp apples”.
The combined marketing company will retain the Chelan Fresh name and operate from both Chelan and Yakima in Washington. The new venture will officially start on 1 September, but the firms said their sales and marketing teams are already “working closely”.
Chelan will market “the majority of the new fruit” under the Trout label, marking the label’s “largest brand expansion” since it was first marketed in 1923, the firms said. Chelan also markets the Cascade Crest Organic and the Chelan Fresh labels.
Chelan CEO Tom Riggan said: “Customers want a one-stop-buying experience and shoppers want a wide selection of high-quality apples, pears and cherries all year long. With the increase in volume and varieties, we can support any size programme 12 months out of the year.”
The firms said they have together “recently invested more than US$235m in state-of-the-art packing facilities and technologies, new storage facilities, and production efficiencies”. “These investments, combined with more than 13,000 acres planted in young, high-density orchards with modern trellis systems, will drive innovation on a large scale.”