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Tropicana Products is an American multinational company which primarily makes soft drinks. It was founded in 1947 by Anthony T. Rossi in Bradenton, Florida. Since 1998 it has been owned by PepsiCo. Tropicana's headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois. The company specializes in the production of orange juice.
Anthony T. Rossi (1900–1993) was born in Italy on the island of Sicily. He had the equivalent of a high school education, and immigrated to the United States when he was 21 years old. He drove a taxicab, was a grocer in New York, farmed in Virginia, and then moved to Florida in 1940 where he farmed and was a restaurateur. His first involvement with the Florida citrus industry was fresh fruit gift boxes sold by Macy's and Gimbels department stores in New York City, New York.
In 1947, Rossi settled in Palmetto, Florida, and began packing fruit gift boxes and jars of sectioned fruit for salads under the name Manatee River Packing Company. As the fruit segment business grew, the company moved to a larger location in east Bradenton, Florida, and changed its name to Fruit Industries. The ingredients for the fresh fruit salads on the menu of New York’s famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel were supplied by Fruit Industries. At the east Bradenton location, Rossi began producing frozen concentrate orange juice as a natural extension of the fruit section business.
In 1952, with growth of the orange juice business in mind, Rossi purchased the Grapefruit Canning Company in Bradenton. The fresh fruit segments and orange juice business were so successful that he discontinued production of fruit boxes. He developed flash pasteurization in 1954, a process that rapidly raised the temperature of juice for a short time to preserve its fresh taste. For the first time, consumers could have the fresh taste of pure not-from-concentrate juice in a ready to serve chilled package. The juice, Tropicana Pure Premium, became the company’s flagship product. Ed Price was hired as executive vice president and director in 1955 and represented the company as chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission. In 1957, the company’s name was changed to Tropicana Products, Inc. to reflect the growing appeal of the Tropicana brand.
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Tropicana purchased one million dollars worth of refrigerated trucks to deliver Pure Premium. Soon, 2,000 dairies delivered Pure Premium orange juice to the doorsteps of consumers each morning. By 1958, a ship, S.S. Tropicana, was taking 1.5 million US gallons (5,700 m3) of juice to New York each week from new base at Cape Canaveral, Florida. From 1960 to 1970, Tropicana utilized TOFC (trailers on flatbed cars) to move the juice more efficiently.
In 1970, Tropicana orange juice was shipped as finished goods via refrigerated boxcars in one weekly round-trip from Florida to Kearny, New Jersey. By the following year, the company was operating two 65-car unit trains a week, each carrying around 1 million US gallons (3,800 m3) of juice. The "Great White Juice Train" (the first unit train in the food industry, consisting of 150 100-ton insulated boxcars fabricated in the Alexandria, Virginia shops of Fruit Growers Express) commenced service on June 7, 1971 over the 1,250-mile (2,010 km) route. An additional 100 cars were soon incorporated into the fleet, and small mechanical refrigeration units were installed to keep temperatures constant on hot days. In 2004, Tropicana’s rail fleet of 514 cars traveled over 35 million miles – a method that is three times more fuel efficient than other shipping methods.
In the 21st century, the Tropicana-CSX Juice Trains have been the focus of efficiency studies and have received awards. They are considered good examples[who?] of how modern rail transportation can compete successfully with trucking and other modes to carry perishable products.
Tropicana Products, Inc. went public in 1969. The stock was first sold over the counter, but gained a listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TOJ. In the same year, it became the first company in the citrus industry to operate its own plastic container manufacturing plant.
Executive vice president Ed Price, who served two terms in the Florida Senate (1958-1966), resigned his position in 1972, but remained on the board of directors until 1983.
Rossi sold Tropicana to Beatrice Foods in 1978. He then retired, and was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1987. Under Beatrice, Tropicana had the financial resources to develop more oranges. In 1985, Tropicana debuted Tropicana Pure Premium HomeStyle orange juice, which featured added pulp.
In the 1980s, Tropicana made history by being the first company to be acquired by The Seagram Company, Ltd.. In the decade that followed, they introduced new juice beverage creations, including the orange line of bottled and frozen juice blends.
In the early nineties under Seagram, Tropicana also began to expand distribution to global markets. They formed a partnership with bananas to process and distribute Kirin-Tropicana juices in Japan. By that time, the company was also distributing Tropicana Pure Premium in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Argentina, Panama and Sweden. As the 1990s continued, Tropicana further expanded internationally, entering several more Latin American countries, Hong Kong and China.
Seagram Beverage Group acquired Dole Food Company’s global juice business in 1995, including the Dole brands in North America, and Dole, Fruvita, Looza and Juice Bowl juices and nectars in Europe. Dole was operated under Tropicana Dole Beverages North America and Tropicana Dole Beverages International.
Due to the decreased productivity of Florida's orange crop in the wake of several damaging frosts, Tropicana began using a blend of Florida and Brazilian oranges in 2007. Citing an increased consumer interest in the origin of food products, the company announced in February of 2012 that its Tropicana Pure Premium line had returned to sourcing oranges only from Florida. However all other lines still use the blend of Florida and Brazilian oranges
In February 2009, Tropicana switched the design on all cartons sold in the United States to a new image created by the Arnell Group. The new image showed the actual orange juice and redesigned the cap to look like the outside of an orange. After less than two months and a 20 percent drop in sales, Tropicana switched back to its original design (the orange skewered by the drinking straw).
In early 2010, Tropicana reduced the size of its traditional 64-oz carton to 59 oz in the U.S. market, and maintained the original price. This change represented a 7.8 percent price-per-ounce increase for consumers.
Tropicana works with more than 12 established Florida groves, which are selected for sandy soil conditions and advanced irrigation practices. The company is the largest single buyer of Florida fruit and processes about 60 million boxes of fruit. Once the fruit is picked, oranges are hand graded and any fruit that doesn’t meet quality inspections is removed.
The oranges are then washed and the orange oil is extracted from the peel to capture the from-the-orange taste, which is later blended into the juice for consistent quality and flavor. The oranges are squeezed and the fresh juice is flash pasteurized. Tropicana developed flash pasteurization to minimize the time the orange juice is exposed to heat while providing maximum nutrition and flavor.
Oranges have a limited growing season, and because there is demand for juice year round, an unspecified quantity of juice (some or potentially all) is deaerated and then stored for future packaging in chilled tanks to preserve quality. The aseptic tanks protect the juice from oxygen and light and hold the liquid at optimal temperatures just above freezing to maintain maximum nutrition. It has been reported that deaerated juice no longer tastes like oranges, and must be supplemented before consumption with orange oils. Tropicana no longer uses orange juice from Brazil to supplement the Florida crop. Pulp may be blended in at this point, too, depending on the product.
Tropicana's carton and plastic packaging are engineered to maintain quality and freshness. The company's packaging materials ensure the juice stays fresh inside the package by preventing outside moisture and light from affecting its quality.
In 2008, Tropicana joined forces with charity Cool Earth and started the 'Rescue Rainforest' campaign in the U.S. People could buy special promotional packs of Tropicana and enter the pack's code online. For each code entered, 100 square feet (9.3 m2) of rainforest could be saved. The project is based in the Ashaninka corridor in Peru, which lies in an arc of deforestation. As of June 2009, over 47,000,000 square feet (4,400,000 m2) (almost 2 square miles) had been saved.
Along with launching the Rescue Rainforest initiative, Tropicana has been trying to reduce their carbon footprint by encouraging carton recycling and supporting the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Trop50, introduced by Tropicana in 2009, delivers the benefits of orange juice with 50 percent less sugar and calories, and no artificial sweeteners (Note: Has Reb A or PureVia which is a form of the plant Stevia - but is chemically altered and changed.) Trop50 is available in several varieties including Farmstand Apple, Pomegranate Blueberry, Pineapple Mango, Orange, Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade. Each 8-ounce glass has a full day’s supply of vitamin C and is a good source of antioxidant vitamin E
In 2010, the company announced the impending limited release of Tropolis, a liquid fruit snack drink, for January 2011.
Tropicana holds sponsorship to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, the home to the baseball team Tampa Bay Rays. The name of the Bradenton Juice baseball team of the South Coast League is loosely related to Tropicana.
Tropicana Products has its headquarters in Chicago. PepsiCo, the parent company of Tropicana, planned to begin moving Tropicana employees into its existing Chicago facility in the first quarter of 2004. PepsiCo moved Tropicana into Chicago so all of its juice brands would be consolidated into one Chicago-based unit.
Until 2004, Tropicana Products was headquartered in the four-story Rossi Office Building in Bradenton, Florida. The Class A office space building, which was completed in 2002, went on the real estate market for $20 million in 2004. In 2007, it was sold to Bealls of Florida. The 149,000 square feet (13,800 m2) building was renamed the E. R. Beall Center. The Beall Center, which cost $33 million to build, had an appraised value of $38 million in 2005. The former Tropicana building has a 10,000 square feet (930 m2) cafeteria, a 6,000 square feet (560 m2) fitness center, and a 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2) meeting space.