Seminole Tribe Acquires Majority Interest in Blue Lake Citrus
By Grocery Headquarters Staff
The Seminole Tribe of Florida announced that it has acquired a majority interest in Blue Lake Citrus Products. The deal positions Blue Lake Citrus for significant growth, increased reach and an expansion to their brand portfolio. The investment also increases the Tribe’s citrus industry investments and growing citrus holdings, which have grown steadily over the past few years. The acquisition further strengthens the Tribe’s business partnership with Noble Produce Holdings of Winter Haven, Fla. The Tribe’s business development arm, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, now owns 60% of Blue Lake Citrus Products. The expanded partnership positions the Tribe for significant growth within the food service and retail channels with pure products that bring awareness to Florida’s agriculture, says Tony Sanchez, president of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The Seminole Pride portfolio consists of Noble 100% pure juice, Noble organic juice, Healthy On-The-Go fruit snacks, OWV natural spring water and beef. “The Tribe is growing and diversifying its business interests by partnering with local Florida, family companies to strengthen the people and agriculture of Florida,” says Sanchez. In April of 2013, the Seminole Tribe acquired from Noble Produce Holdings, a majority interest in Noble Food Service, the sales and marketing division of Blue Lake Citrus Products. That partnership significantly expanded the growth of the Seminole Pride and Noble brand of citrus juices throughout the United States and Canada to more conventional and natural grocery stores, restaurants, schools, hotels, hospitals and catering businesses. Blue Lake Citrus Products also markets bulk juice, citrus oils and other citrus products. “We see our partnership with the Seminole Tribe as the launch platform to significantly grow the entire line of Blue Lake products, from bulk to branded. The opportunities are tremendous for Blue Lake,” says Quentin Roe, President of Noble Produce Holdings. “The partnership and capital invested by the Tribe, coupled with their contacts and minority status, create the possibilities for growth and expansion.” When combined with the branded business, the combination of products provides great vertical integration for the Tribe’s citrus grove holdings. Day-to-day operations of the plant will continue to be managed by Morgan Roe, president of Blue Lake Citrus Products. As one measure of the current scope of the operation, the Blue Lake Citrus Products Plant produces about seven million gallons of juice products per year from 1.2 million boxes of citrus fruit, averaging 90 pounds per box. The Seminole Pride and Noble brands are known for their pure tangerine juice but also offer a full beverage portfolio that includes orange, organic orange, tangerine clementine, tangerine guava mango, organic orange tangerine, blood orange, super red grapefruit, organic grapefruit, lemonade, lemon, lime, organic lemonade, organic apple, spring water and seasonal juices like Pummelo Paradise.