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Del Monte: A Very Strong Brand

March 11, 2013

The food brand Del Monte is over a hundred years old. California became a major producer of fruits and vegetables in the 1870s and 1880s. The name Del Monte came out in 1986 used by an Oakland foods distributor to designate a premium blend of coffee made for Hotel Del Monte located on the Monterey peninsula.

The firm expanded its business and Del Monte was chosen as the brand name in 1892 for its newly launched line of canned peaches.  The California Fruit Canners Association (CFCA) was formed in 1898 when 18 West Coast canning companies merged. The name, Del Monte was actually just one of the brands used by this new company.

CFCA grew and incorporated itself as California Packing Corporation and used the Del Monte brand to market its products.  The company grew further and was operating 60 canneries in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Alaska. In the 1920s it went into pineapple production, canning and sales.  The firm even had plantations in the Philippines.

Being already a large multinational company the name California Packing Corporation no longer fit. It changed its name in 1967 to Del Monte Corporation using the name of its leading brand. This demonstrated the power of the Del Monte brand.

Del Monte made headlines in 1972 when it became the first major food processor to voluntarily adopt nutritional labeling on all its food products. This initiative was praised by government officials as a breakthrough in consumer education.

The company then went through a period of ownership and structural changes. It became a part of R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc. in 1979. The fresh fruit business was sold and renamed Fresh Del Monte Produce.  While it was no longer a part of Del Monte, Del Monte Produce still used the Del Monte label to market its banana, pineapple, and other products. This once again demonstrated the strength of the Del Monte brand.

Today Del Monte is private company offering canned fruits, canned vegetables, fruit cups as well as pet foods, pet snacks and other products. Based in San Francisco, California, the firm generated $3.7 billion in net sales in 2010. One of the owners of the company is famed buy-out firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Whatever the future holds for the company one thing for sure the Del Monte brand will continue to exist.

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