Coca-Cola Plans To Broaden Its Reach With Fresh Produce Partnership

Just when consumers think they've seen it all, here comes Coke-brand fruit. (We're teasing ... sort of.) Coca-Cola just announced a new licensing deal with the sustainable high-quality produce brand Frutura. Per the new deal, the brand logos of Minute Maid and Simply (which are owned by Coca-Cola) will be printed on select Dayka & Hackett brand produce (owned by Frutura). The Minute Maid logo will appear on D&H grapes and the Simply logo will appear on D&H citrus fruits.

This deal marks the soda giant's maiden foray into the produce world. Indeed, this latest move is far from the first time Coca-Cola has broadened its portfolio beyond beverages. Search "vintage Coca-Cola clock" on eBay and you'll find home d├ęcor items released a century ago. The soda company even designed a clothing line with Forever 21 in 2018. But, Frutura's slogan is "The Future of Fruit," and now, it looks like Frutura could be leading the way for The Coca-Cola Company's future, as well. This brand deal could represent a larger-scale company shift toward a health-conscious food trend. Admittedly, Minute Maid and Simply ready-to-drink fruit beverages still certainly run on the sugary side. But, the deal is a pretty major departure from the soft drink world. The new branded products are scheduled to hit retailers across the U.S. beginning in July, starting with Simply and Minute Maid to follow thereafter.

Risky yet calculated business

Brand licensing is a mutually beneficial way for companies to accrue passive income as other businesses use their brand name in exchange for royalties. In the food world, a less-defined form of brand licensing arguably takes the form of product collaborations, like the Doritos x Jack Link's beef jerky that dropped earlier this month. Coca-Cola entered one such partnership with Jack Daniel's last month for a line of canned cocktails toting both giants' brand names. In a statement via Food Dive, Coca-Cola's associate licensing manager Kayla Carlucci says this new brand licensing agreement for fruit will come with strict quality control procedures and standards to uphold the Coca-Cola name.

This is an interesting time to partner with a produce company considering a fairly recent hit to the citrus supply. Hurricanes wiped out over half of Florida's 2023 orange crop (the biggest hit since 1913, says Bloomberg), which has also impacted the costs associated with products like Minute Maid orange juice. Coca-Cola is now also able to put logos associated with juice on a line of fruit, and Frutura is able to benefit from the recognizability of Coke-owned brands and gain new traffic from first-time consumers.