Chiquita Brands International Incorporated (CBII) and its subsidiaries is a major company engaged in marketing and distributing fresh produce, the most well known of which being bananas. The company is headquartered in Ohio, USA.
CBII’s history began in 1870 when Captain Lorenzo D. Baker bought 160 bunches of bananas and sold them in New Jersey. In 1885, Captain Baker went into a partnership with investors, including Andrew Preston, in order to create Boston Fruit Company. Four years later, Boston Fruit merged with Minor Keith’s railroad company to form United Fruit Company.
In 1900, United Fruit released its first yearly report. Three years later, the company introduced refrigerated vessels for the purpose of preserving perishable products while being transported. In the same year, the company also was listed on the NYSE.
In 1904, United Fruits was able to master wireless communication between its operations in the United States and South America. This was an important development in the company’s history because communication was vital, especially while the products were in transit on the ocean.
In 1944, the company launched the name Chiquita, along with the brand’s jingle. The company also introduced the character of Miss Chiquita to the public. Three years later, Chiquita became a registered trademark in the U.S. In 1961, the company started to ship pre-cut bananas packed in boxes made of cardboard. This was an effort to protect and reduce bruising in its banana products.
In 1966, Chiquita introduced its brand to the European market. By 1968, the company was able to distribute and sell over four billion pounds of bananas all over the world. In 1970, the company combined with AMK Co and changed its name to United Brands Company.
In 1973, the company launched its first container ships (with a refrigerating system) for transporting bananas to Texas and Latin America. In 1980, Chiquita became an official supplier and sponsor of bananas during the 1980 Winter Olympics in New York.
A decade later, the company assumed its current name in order to promote global recognition. In 1991, CBII completed a state-of-the-art processing facility for its banana products. A year after, the company was able to acquire Friday Canning Co. In 1995, the company completed its divestiture of its John Morrell subsidiary.
In 1997, CBII’s bananas were given the certification by the AHA (American Heart Association). In the succeeding years, CBII continued to acquire several companies, contributing to its international expansion.
Currently, CBII is operating in three divisions, namely: its Bananas division, Healthy Snacks and Salads division and Snack Products Division.
• Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
• Ownership Type: Public
• No. of Employees: 21,000 (March 2011)
• Geography: worldwide, but more prominently in USA and Europe
• Demography: fresh produce consumers, packaged salad consumers, fruit-based smoothies and beverages consumers
Chiquita®, Fresh Express ™